A recent article released December 6, 2018 mentions a section that was added in March 2018 that allowed OCR to dismiss burdensome complaints by one requester has been deleted by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. See the full article HERE. Attorneys and counselors have been warning schools about the return of web accessibility complaints. Is your school ready if it is the next target of web accessibility complaint with OCR?
For those unfamiliar with the story behind these changes, a Michigan-based special education activist, Marcie Lipsitt, filed thousands of OCR complaints against school districts and universities across the country over the past few years, claiming that school websites were inaccessible. As one source reported, each month OCR would open as many as 150 new investigations based on Lipsitt’s complaints. When OCR revised its CPM in March 2018, however, it added a section that allowed OCR to dismiss complaints that were a “continuation of a pattern of complaints previously filed with OCR by an individual or group against multiple recipients.” Based on the new guideline, OCR began dismissing Lipsitt’s complaints and even quietly reworked old agreements reached before the March revision. A lawsuit followed. Now OCR has reversed course on the change, meaning schools should expect to see these complaints popping up again.
Assessing the accessibility of a school’s website can seem like a daunting task, with some commentators questioning if full accessibility is even possible. What’s clear is that it is certainly less burdensome to evaluate and address accessibility issues on a school website if the school undertakes the process on its own, rather than waiting for OCR involvement.
SchoolPointe's All-Inclusive Content Management Solution offers built in ADA compliance tools to help each one of their customers stay on top of Accessibility and even back their customers up as a vendor when it comes to ADA compliance. Their comprehensive toolkit offers schools the ability to scan content for WCAG 2.0 compliance issues before they publish to their site and not only alerts them of what content is not compliant but shows schools exactly how to fix the content to make it compliant. Their toolkit also features a reporting system that allows visitors to submit ADA complaints directly to the school before taking their complaints to the Office of Civil Rights. SchoolPointe is based out of Columbus, Ohio and has been exclusive to the K-12 market since 2002. With an All-Inclusive CMS that includes unlimited training and support as well as built in ADA compliance tools at no additional cost, it's no wonder they are a leading CMS provider that maintains a 97% customer retention rate. To view a complete list of what SchoolPointe's ADA Toolkit has to offer CLICK HERE.