ADA Compliance Services
Americans With Disabilities Compliance Services
Hundreds of schools and districts across the United States have had complaints filed against them, and been investigated by the U.S. Department of Educations's Office for Civil Rights due to inaccessibility of their websites under the terms of the American's with Disabilities Act. Etter Ventures, LLC, can provide assistance to help bring your district and school websites into compliance.
WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – School districts and educational institutions across the country take heed: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has recently opened as many as 350 nationwide investigations to determine whether educational agencies’ websites are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. (May 25th, 2016)
If you haven’t received a letter or notification yet that your school’s website needs to be ADA compliant, consider yourself warned. Your school needs to get its website in order or face the consequences.
School website accessibility compliance can all get a bit complicated, so for those NOT interested in the legal aspects and just want to stay out of hot water with the Office of Civil Rights (and who doesn’t) here is the layman’s version:
- If you are a school, you are required by law to make sure your school’s website is accessible to the disabled.
- If your school website doesn’t meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance standards, you could end up as the target of an investigation by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
- If the OCR receives a complaint (and that can be from anyone, even if they aren’t disabled), it will result in an investigation.
- If you fail to correct the issues in the complaint, it could result in a disability discrimination complaint being filed against your school. The OCR has the right to enforce your compliance, and you get to spend money correcting the issues, risk losing funding, or facing a lawsuit.
Advocate Moves Needle on Website Accessibility
Marcie Lipsitt, of Franklin, Mich., has filed some 500 complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights advocating for web ccessibility for students with disabilities. She reviews school districts’ websites one by one using her iPad software, looking for barriers that would prevent access. Her frustration goes all the way to whitehouse.gov and disability.gov— websites that are not accessible to users with disabilities.
Credit—Brian Widdis for Education Week
Steps To Take
- Evaluate Your Existing Website's Compliance - WAVE - Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
- Develop A School Website Accessibility Policy - Sample Policy (SchoolWebmasters.com)
- Implement ADA Best Practices and Actions Program for your district and school
- Create A Procedure For Filing Website Accessibility Concerns, Complaints and Grievances
- Department of Education increases investigations into website compliance with ADA
- Settlements Reached in Seven States, One Territory to Ensure Website Accessibility for People with Disabilities
- Website Accessibility: Ten Things School Districts Should Know - Education Week
- ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments - Website Accessibility
- WebAIM's WCAG 2.0 Checklist
- WAVE - Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
- WebAIM = Alternative Text (Alt+Tags)
- Web Accessibility Test - SSB Bart Group
- Testing for Web Accessibility Compliance Under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview
- WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite
- Identifying Web Accessibility Issues - The National Center on Disability and Access to Education
- The National Center on Disability and Access to Education "cheat sheets"