SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 18

educational entities OCR and DOJ have
mandated that the agency adopt a website accessibility policy.
LEAs interested in adopting a website accessibility policy may proceed in
a number of ways. An LEA may incorporate a policy on website accessibility
into its existing nondiscrimination, social
media, or internet access policy(ies).
Alternatively, an LEA may develop a
separate policy dedicated to website
accessibility. This office recommends
consulting with legal counsel prior to
drafting and adopting a website accessibility policy.
5. WHAT ARE CORRECTIVE OR

* Periodic consultation with disability
groups to test website accessibility
DOJ has also emphasized a training
component in its settlement agreements,
providing that such training should
include instruction in how to conform the
agency's website, mobile applications,
and platform4 to specific website accessibility standards.5
Please note that at this time, neither
a corrective action plan nor a voluntary
action plan is legally required. However,
it may serve as valuable evidence of the
LEA's intention to ensure its web content
is accessible to individuals with disabilities
should the LEA become the subject of an
investigation by OCR and/or DOJ.

VOLUNTARY ACTION PLANS?

In a number of resolution agreements with
educational entities, OCR has included a
provision requiring the entity to develop a
"corrective action plan," which prioritizes
the removal of online barriers to accessibility over a 12-24 month time period.
OCR has also emphasized the need for
"appropriate personnel" to receive website accessibility training, although it has
not specified what such training must
entail.
In the past, OCR has approved corrective action plans containing the following
elements:
* Known barriers to website accessibility
* A remediation plan, including a timeline
for fixing the most serious to the least
serious barriers
* Long-term solutions, including timelines for regular auditing of the website
for accessibility issues and training of
key staff
Similarly, DOJ has described what it
terms "voluntary action plans" for agencies whose websites are not currently fully
accessible. DOJ recommends that any
such plan contain the following elements:
* A website accessibility policy with a
process for implementation
* A statement ensuring that all new and
newly modified webpages and content
are accessible
* A plan to making existing web content
more accessible
* A training plan for personnel responsible for website accessibility
* A notice allowing individuals with disabilities to request inaccessible web
content
18

SSDA TODAY | SPRING/SUMMER 2018

The information in this Legal Update
is provided as a summary of law and is
not intended as legal advice. Application
of the law may vary depending on the
particular facts and circumstances at
issue. We, therefore, recommend that
you consult legal counsel to advise you
on how the law applies to your specific
situation.
1 See, specifically, Educ. Code §§ 15280(b); 35258;
51224.7(d); and 52065.
2 See, specifically, Educ. Code § 1240(c)(2)(K)(ii).
3 The effective communication regulations provide,
in pertinent part: "A public entity shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with
applicants, participants, members of the public,
and companions with disabilities are as effective as
communications with others." (28 C.F.R. § 35.160(a)

6. WHEN WILL DOJ PROMULGATE
REGULATIONS CLARIFYING

(1).)
4 In this context, a platform is the service that delivers

EDUCATIONAL ENTITIES' WEBSITE

the content to the user; for instance, the method

ACCESSIBILITY OBLIGATIONS?

by which a student would access an online course.

In April 2016, DOJ invited public comment on 123 questions related to website accessibility.6 The comment period
closed a few months later, after which
rulemaking was expected to take place.
However, in July 2017 the Trump
Administration placed rulemaking
on website accessibility on the list
of "2017 Inactive Actions." In light of
this action, there is no expectation that
DOJ will provide new guidance with
regard to website accessibility in the
near future.
However, be advised that, despite
clear guidance on this issue, individuals and organizations continue to file
complaints against public agencies
with regard to website accessibility.
In addition, courts have held that
the California Unruh Civil Rights Act,7
a state law analogous to Title III of
the ADA, and the California Disabled
Persons Act, 8 a state law analogous to
Title II and Title III of the ADA, apply
to the issue of website accessibility.9
Thus, notwithstanding DOJ's failure
to promulgate clear regulations on the
issue, California law also requires public entities to ensure that individuals
with disabilities can access the online
content and functionality of their
Internet websites.
Please contact our office with questions regarding this Legal Update or
any other legal matter.
●

Not only would the student need to be able to find
course content online, but the content and the
functionality of the online course would need to
be accessible. In other words, the accessibility
requirement would also extend to aspects of the
course such as being able to sign up for classes
online.
5 In its settlement agreements, DOJ mandates conformance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
2.0 AA. More information on the WCAG 2.0 AA
standards can be found at www.w3.org/WAI/intro/
wcag.
6 The questions posed by DOJ can be accessed at
https://www.ada.gov/regs2016/sanprm.html (Apr.
2016).
7 Cal. Civ. Code § 51.
8 Cal. Civ. Code § 54.
9 See, e.g., Nat'l Fed'n of the Blind v. Target Corp.,
452 F. Supp. 2d 946, 957 (N.D. Cal. 2006); see also
Lentini v. California Ctr. for the Arts, Escondido, 370
F.3d 837, 847 (9th Cir. 2004) for the proposition that
a violation of the ADA is a per se violation of the
Unruh Act.

Ellie Austin's practice focuses
on collective bargaining negotiations and personnel matters.
She assists school districts,
county office of education, and
community college districts in negotiating
collective bargaining agreements, resolving
grievances and unfair practice charges, and
handling personnel matters. Ms. Austin also
assists clients with website accessibility
issues.


http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/ https://www.ada.gov/regs2016/sanprm.html

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S COLUMN
Student Free Speech: School Officials’ Response to Student Social Media Comments, “Likes” and Followers
CalPERS Rate Increases Begin to Stabilize
New School Nutrition Laws Take Effect
Website Accessibility: How an Educational Entity Can Ensure its Website is Accessible to those with Disabilities
After Years of Debate, Special Education Credential Seems Destined for Changes
School Board Elections and the California Voting Rights Act: Districts Shift from At-Large to District-Based Elections
ADVERTISER’S INDEX
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - Intro
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover1
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover2
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 3
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 4
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 5
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S COLUMN
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 7
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 8
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 9
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - Student Free Speech: School Officials’ Response to Student Social Media Comments, “Likes” and Followers
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 11
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 12
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - CalPERS Rate Increases Begin to Stabilize
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 14
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - New School Nutrition Laws Take Effect
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - Website Accessibility: How an Educational Entity Can Ensure its Website is Accessible to those with Disabilities
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 17
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 18
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - After Years of Debate, Special Education Credential Seems Destined for Changes
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 20
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - School Board Elections and the California Voting Rights Act: Districts Shift from At-Large to District-Based Elections
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - ADVERTISER’S INDEX
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover3
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0218
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0217
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0116
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com