Settlement by OCR's Philadelphia office:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
THE WANAMAKER BUILDING, SUITE 515
100 PENN SQUARE EAST
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA 19107
OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS WENDELLA P. FOX
May 2, 2002
IN RESPONSE, PLEASE REFER TO: 02021030
Ms. Carolyn Schwebel
79 Hamilton Avenue
Leonardo NJ 07737
Dear Ms. Schwebel:
This letter is to notify you of the resolution of your Complaint filed against the Middletown Township Public Schools (the District) alleging that the District was discriminating on the basis of disability by not providing physically accessible facilities. You specifically cited the following facilities as being inaccessible:
1. the railings at Bayshore Middle School and Thompson Middle School;
2. the railings on the new steps at Leonardo Middle School;
3. the entrance to the new wing at Thompson Middle School;
4. parking, especially at Middletown Village Elementary; and,
5. bathrooms and telephones at the administration building.
You also alleged that the accessible entrance at New (Monmouth) Elementary School is regularly blocked by an employee’s parked car; however, you have confirmed that this allegation has been resolved.
OCR is responsible for enforcing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and its implementing regulation, at 34 C.F.R. Part 104, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by a recipient of Federal financial assistance from the Department. OCR also has jurisdiction as a designated agency under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), over complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability that are filed against public elementary and secondary education systems and institutions, public institutions of higher education and vocational education (other than schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and other health-related schools), and public libraries. The District is both a recipient of Federal funds from the Department and a public entity and is, therefore, subject to the provisions of Section 504 and the ADA and their implementing regulations.
Based on our on-site investigation, comparison with the Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), discussion with District staff and you, we found:
The railings at Bayshore Middle School have been corrected and comply with ADAAG 4.9.4. The Leonardo School was constructed in the 1920’s and is not physically accessible. Steps were repaired, not reconstructed; therefore, compliance with the ADAAG is not required. The new wing at Thompson Middle School, constructed during the 2000-2001 school year, is attached to the main building, which has ten fully accessible entrances. The new wing is fully accessible through the main building. Under these circumstances, an accessible exterior entrance to the new wing is not required. According to ADAAG 4.1.5, the addition is considered an alteration to the existing building. Because the new wing is an alteration, the applicable standard is ADAAG 4.1.3 (5)(d)(8)(1 )(i), which states that at least 50% of all public entrances must be accessible. The school meets this standard.
With respect to the remaining allegations, under OCR policy, a complaint may be resolved upon the submission of written commitments from the recipient that specify the action to be taken to resolve the allegations appropriately. The District has provided such commitments to OCR (copy enclosed), thereby resolving the remaining accessibility issues. As is our standard practice, OCR will monitor implementation of the commitments.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, it may be necessary to release this document and related correspondence and records upon request. If OCR receives such a request, we will seek to protect, to the extent provided by law, personal information that, if released, could constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.
Federal regulations prohibit recipients of Federal financial assistance from taking actions which intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against individuals who exercise their rights under the statutes which OCR enforces, or because they have filed a complaint with OCR or taken part in the complaint resolution process.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mr. lrv Greenberg at (215) 656-8546.
COMMITMENTS TO RESOLVE
Middletown Township Public Schools
, - In order to resolve the above-referenced complaint, Middletown Township Public Schools (the District) makes the following commitments to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education that will be completed by September 1, 2002:
1. The District will reconfigure all parking spots at all schools in the District and the Administration Building so that:
a. there are two designated, accessible parking spaces for persons with disabilities at each elementary school and the Administration Building, six at each middle school and eight at each high school;
b. at each location, one of the spaces will be designated as van accessible;
c. all spaces will have vertical signs designating them as spots for persons with disabilities and will have the symbol of accessibility on the ground;
d. the spaces will meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as set forth In the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) at 4.6, with regard to size and access lanes;
2. The District will put in curb cuts at Bayview, Lincroft and Fairview Elementary Schools providing unimpeded access to the building and which comply with ADAAG 4.7.
3. The lips on the pathway from the parking lot to the High School South building will be smoothed to provide unimpeded egress and ingress to the building and comply with ADAAG 4.7.
4. The Superintendent will send a memorandum to all staff, students and parents that the parking spaces designated for persons with disabilities are to be used only by persons with disabilities and that any illegally parked automobiles will receive parking citations from the police.
5. The District will purchase a TeleTYpewriter/Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TTY/TDD) telephone system for the administration building that can be used by persons with hearing impairments.
6. The District will develop procedures to be used by mobility-impaired persons who wish to meet with a member of the administration. This procedure will provide for a contact person and an alternate site for the meeting if the person finds the Administration Building inaccessible.
7. Permanent railings will be installed on the new steps of the new wing at Thompson Middle School that meet the requirements of ADAAG at 4.9.4.
1. By October 15, 2002, the District will provide notification to OCR that it has fulfilled the above commitments.
Superintendent of Designee Date 4 -5 - 02
For Jack DeTalvo