School websites will be more accessible for all students and their family members with disabilities thanks to a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Daniel Benson and Ralph Caputo. The bill, which ensures school websites comply with accessibility guidelines, was recently signed into law.
The new law (formerly bill A-4856) will require all websites and web services offered by school districts, charter schools, renaissance schools and the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines include recommendations for making websites accessible for individuals with disabilities including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, learning disabilities and cognitive limitations.
Under the law, the Commissioner of Education will be required to establish a procedure to obtain a statement of assurance from the schools stating that their website and web services are accessible. Statements of assurance will be collected and posted on the Department of Education’s website every two years.
Upon the bill becoming law, Assembly sponsors Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington), Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) and Caputo (D-Essex) issued the following joint statement:
“School websites and web services are important resources that all students and their family members should be able to access, regardless of their disabilities. With schools relying more on digital tools to provide curriculum and academic instruction than ever before, it is critical that all students have the ability to access virtual educational content to ensure that a student’s disability does not constrain their educational achievement.
“By following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, we can ensure that the over 223,000 students with disabilities in New Jersey are able to participate fully and utilize the same educational tools as their peers and that parents with disabilities have the same opportunity to be involved in their children’s education.”