One man is going to extraordinary lengths to secure his right to work as a gym teacher.
Detroit News reported that David Lopez, who weighs a staggering 400 pounds, is filing a lawsuit against his former university after they refused his right to become a certified gym teacher.
The 44-year-old, who completed his physical education kinesiology program, says that Wayne State University in Michigan is discriminating against him because of his weight.
“They don’t think I fit the description of what a PE teacher was because I’m very overweight,” Lopez told the newspaper.
“They didn’t want me to graduate with my certification because I didn’t fit what they perceived to be a gym teacher because of my size and because of my weight.
“There’s no doubt that was the reason why. There was no other reason. I passed everything.”
According to the lawsuit, Lopez suffers from a range of health conditions including diabetes, hypertension and asthma, all of which mean he cannot stand for long periods of time.
As part of his teacher training last year, Lopez was provided with an accommodation letter from his doctor requesting he be allowed to teach virtually at Dearborn Public Schools.
Lawsuit: Wayne State discriminated against student who wanted to be gym teacher because of weight https://t.co/rBexS37ppJ
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) December 26, 2023
However, he insists that his attempts to enroll in the teaching program were rejected by the university.
“All I’d asked for was accommodations, virtual or through physical accommodations inside a classroom,” Lopez said. “The school I was at was willing to give me a virtual setting, but Wayne State was not.”
Despite Wayne State’s refusal to allow accommodations, according to Lopez, he completed the first part of his student training before university authorities told him not to return.
He is now arguing that the situation has left him unable to complete the full training program.
“It got to the point where I had no other choice left,” Lopez said. “I left with no degree, no certification, no nothing.”
Lopez described the lawsuit as the “last option” for him to be reinstated in the course and receive his teaching certificate.
“Suing the school was my last option,” he explained. “I didn’t want to do it, but I’m doing it because I have nothing, and I have no way to earn a living now because they took away my opportunity to get a degree. All I asked for was a reasonable accommodation.”
Meanwhile, according to Detroit News, Wayne State University called the lawsuit “frivolous” and requested it be dismissed.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.