Connecticut father sues after Ebola fears keep daughter from school

 Connecticut father sues after Ebola fears keep daughter from school

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The father of a Connecticut third-grader sued her local schools on Tuesday, saying his daughter was discriminated against and banned from school based on irrational fears of Ebola because she attended a family wedding in Nigeria.

Stephen Opayemi filed the lawsuit in U.S. district court in Connecticut and asked the court to order the schools in Milford, Connecticut to immediately permit his daughter to return to class.

Opayemi's daughter has not experienced any symptoms associated with Ebola and her health is fine, the suit says.

Milford's mayor and its school superintendent did not immediately return calls requesting comment on Tuesday.

Nigeria had 20 Ebola cases and eight deaths this year before the World Health Organization declared the country Ebola-free on Oct. 19. The epidemic is centered in three other West African countries, where about 5,000 people have died: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The third-grader, Ikeoluwa Opayemi, traveled to and from Lagos, Nigeria, between Oct. 2 and Oct. 13, according to the suit.

The city of Milford and its schools "prohibited Ikeoluwa from entering Meadowside Elementary School based on fears and myths related to the transmission of Ebola," the suit says.

The suit was filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law prohibits discrimination based on someone having a physical or mental impairment, or on the belief that someone has such an impairment.

Milford officials refused the father's offer to have both himself and his daughter screened for Ebola, according to the suit.

(The case is Ikeoluwa Opayemi v. Milford Public Schools and City of Milford, U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, No. 3:14-cv-01597.)

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and James Dalgleish)

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Updated Date: Oct 29, 2014 03:45:23 IST