The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights proactively initiated 100 compliance reviews last year to check if schools, colleges and universities are making their websites accessible to students with disabilities, the agency reported Monday.
The move, described by the office as “unprecedented” in its 2022 annual report, comes as the department considers potential updates to decades-old federal legislation designed to protect students with disabilities from discrimination.
OCR announced plans to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in May last year, but is still reviewing public comments, the agency said in its report. Section 504 was designed to protect students with disabilities from unfair treatment, but has not been significantly altered since 1977 and fails to address many technological challenges faced by students today.
The agency created a 20-part video series in partnership with the ADA National Network last year aiming to raise awareness of the technological barriers that students with disabilities can face online.