You've been Cited, Now What?

Schools occasionally receive a notification letter from the Office of Civil Rights ("OCR").  This letter notifies the school that a complaint has been filed stating that portions of the school's website does not meet accessibility standards.

What Should Your School District Do?

Whether you have received a complaint or not, you should put together a plan and process to affirm your commitment to achieving a website that is accessible to people with disabilities.  Your plan should involve:

  1. Affirming your commitment to ensure that people with disabilities have opportunities equal to those of others to enjoy the recipients’ programs, services, and activities, including those delivered online;
  2. Selecting an auditor who has the requisite knowledge and experience to audit content and functionality and identify barriers to access on the existing website for people with disabilities;
  3. Conducting a thorough audit of existing online content and functionality;
  4. Adopting policies and procedures to ensure that all new, newly added or modified online content and functionality will be accessible to people with disabilities;
  5. Making all new website content and functionality accessible to people with disabilities;
  6. Developing a corrective action plan to prioritize the removal of online barriers;
  7. Posting a notice to persons with disabilities about how to request access to online information or functionality that is currently inaccessible; and
  8. Providing website accessibility training to all appropriate personnel.

To learn more about putting together a voluntary agreement plan see the U.S. Department of Education news article:

Settlements Reached in Seven States, One Territory to Ensure Website Accessibility for People with Disabilities

Common Problems with Website Content

Common problems affecting many of the websites include:

  • Some content of the website could only be accessed by people who can use a computer mouse, which meant that content was not available to those who are blind, many who have low-vision, and those with disabilities affecting fine motor control;
  • PDF documents on the website were created by scanning a document (basically turning the text into an image) making it inaccessible to blind people;
  • Parts of the website used color combinations that made text difficult or impossible for people with low vision to see; and
  • Videos were not accurately captioned, so they were inaccessible to people who are deaf.

Keeping your content compliant

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