Over the weekend, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded 72 guidance documents related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act, as reported by the Washington Post and several other news outlets.
Although none of the rescinded documents directly apply to digital accessibility, the absence of formal policies in certain areas could make it more difficult for students and parents to lodge a complaint or guarantee a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities. Combined with the reported change in approach to digital accessibility, we could see some deregulation or nonenforcement in the future in the education sector.
IDEA applies to K-12 schools, whether or not they receive federal funds. IDEA requires states to provide FAPE to all students. Once a school district identifies a student who is eligible for special education, the school must put together an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to meet that student’s specific needs.
Even if the Department of Education chooses not to enforce digital accessibility requirements, Level Access predicts that private lawsuits against educational institutions will continue. We will be monitoring further developments at the Department of Education that affect students with disabilities.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.