Berkeley Unified School District Putting New Accessibility Policies in Place
New Agreement Resolves Concerns Raised by Parent of Blind Student
Berkeley, California (July 25, 2022): The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) has agreed to put new policies for the testing and evaluation of online learning technology in place to ensure that such technology is fully accessible to the blind and other students with disabilities. The agreement resolves concerns raised by Mina Sun regarding compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and other laws on behalf of her son Kai Wang, a blind student in the BUSD system. Mina and Kai are featured in a new video series about digital accessibility from the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. They are represented by Tim Elder of the TRE Legal Practice and the Baltimore law firm of Brown Goldstein & Levy, with the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind, the transformative advocacy and membership organization of blind Americans.
Under the agreement, the BUSD superintendent will designate a digital accessibility officer who will be tasked with establishing an accessibility review process. The agreement specifies that this process “shall be aligned with the most current adopted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)” and that non-automated testing results must be used to evaluate the software. The agreement also Vincorporates a detailed accessibility checklist outlining the mandatory accessibility guidelines that must be met. Software that does not meet accessibility requirements and other criteria will not be permitted to be used in the classroom.
“We are delighted with the agreement that has been reached with BUSD and believe that the new policies it outlines can serve as a model for school districts across the nation,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We commend BUSD officials for working so diligently to reach this groundbreaking result, and we call upon all school districts to understand the harmful effects of not planning for accessibility in the implementation of instructional technologies.”