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Website Accessibility Compliance

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May 2, 2017

Recently at a school lawyers’ conference, the topic of school website accessibility compliance was discussed. To be honest, I hadn’t had previous occasion to think about this. In case you haven’t either, you should be aware that the protections afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) extend to websites. This means that your school website must be accessible to disabled persons. What that looks like (along with links to other good information on the topic) is summarized here: Accessibility Guidelines

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been targeting schools throughout the country for various forms of non-compliance. If an individual or advocacy organization reports a website issue with your school, you will receive a letter of inquiry and be subject to investigation. Resolving the matter will take not only your time, but will also cost you in the likely event you need legal and/or technical assistance. Thus, it’s important that you take steps now to ensure your district is compliant.

Good news—those of you using the OPSRC website offering are covered. Our IT Director, Ben Parker, tells me that the IT team frequently checks for compliance, both on what they develop and on content members provide.

If you have any questions about the legal side of this issue, please feel free to contact me. My cell number is 405.520.9680. For technical questions, I’d highly recommend you shoot those over to Ben.

About the Author

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Terri Thomas

Director of Legal Services

Terri Thomas serves as Director of Legal Services for OPSRC.  Ms. Thomas is an attorney practicing exclusively in the area of Oklahoma school law, with a primary focus on rural and smaller school districts. Prior to OPSRC, she served as legal counsel for the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools (OROS) from 1999 to 2015 and represents many school districts throughout all parts of the state.

It’s no accident that Terri wound up practicing school law.  She grew up in the school business. Terri’s father, the late Howard Thomas, was a school superintendent for 25 years in several Oklahoma school districts, including Pauls Valley—Terri’s hometown—and Ardmore. After graduating from Pauls Valley High School, Terri received her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

She and her husband, Norman Thompson, and their 8-year old daughter, Mary, reside in Oklahoma City.

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