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:
- 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;
- 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;
- Conducting a thorough audit of existing online content and functionality;
- Adopting policies and procedures to ensure that all new, newly added or modified online content and functionality will be accessible to people with disabilities;
- Making all new website content and functionality accessible to people with disabilities;
- Developing a corrective action plan to prioritize the removal of online barriers;
- Posting a notice to persons with disabilities about how to request access to online information or functionality that is currently inaccessible; and
- 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:
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.