Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

The Grayson County School Board on Thursday, Dec. 14 approved a resolution agreement with the United States Department of Education/Office of Civil Rights to ensure that its websites will remain accessible to individuals with disabilities.

During the regular Dec. 14 School Board meeting, Grayson County Schools Attorney David Vickery said that, in August of this year, a notice was filed with the Grayson County School system alleging that the school system had discriminated against persons with disabilities based on its website accessibility.

According to the complaint, cited in the resolution, the school system's website allegedly "contained barriers to access for people with disabilities, thereby denying them an equal opportunity to participate in the [schools'] programs, services, and activities, and denying them effective communication necessary for full participation in the [schools'] programs, services, and activities."

Upon investigation, Vickery discovered that 300 such filings had been made against various school systems by an out-of-state advocacy group on the same day.

No other complaints had ever been received by the school district, and the complaint in question was filed in March of this year, a couple of weeks following

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school district employees' training on website accessibility.

According to District Technology Coordinator Jerrod Graybeal, because the complaint was filed early in the spring, the majority of items cited in it had already been addressed by the time it was received by the school district.

Public Information Officer Caryn Lewis said that "less than a handful of errors" were discovered, and they have all been corrected since.

Graybeal also added that every school district in the country is likely to receive such a complaint.

To ensure the school district remains compliant, Vickery, Graybeal, and Lewis presented a resolution agreement with the US Department of Education/Office of Civil Rights laying out proposed policies and procedures, as well as the assurance the the school district's website will remain accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Vickery said that everything the schools are currently doing to ensure the website is compliant is what they should be doing; however, ensuring compliance will be difficult.

By Jan. 30, 2018, the schools will submit proposed policies and procedures to the Office of Civil Rights for review to ensure they are compliant. After the review, an audit will be conducted, and, if errors are found, a corrective action plan will be needed.

Additionally, the district will be required to deliver website accessibility training to any employee responsible for its websites.

Following the presentation of the resolution agreement, the School Board voted to approve it.

In other business:

*The district recognized Grayson County Schools' Family Resource Center personnel.

*The School Board approved the 2018-2019 school calendar.

*Food Service Director Kristy Hodges presented the 2017 Nutrition and Physical Activity Report.

*With one motion, the School Board approved the following items:

a. Textbook plans for all schools;

b. Writing FRYSC grant allocations and certification of school district assurances for Fiscal Years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020;

c. Non-resident contracts with surrounding districts;

d. Splitting the stipend for the Lawler Elementary School Academic Team;

e. One trip request from GCMS;

f. One trip request from GCHS;

g. Four leave of absence requests from employees;

h. Declaring 21 iPods, one iPod sync cart, eight printers, six projectors, four computers/laptops, two network switches, three interactive boards, four servers, six monitors, and assorted components to be obsolete.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette