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Justice Department Secures Agreement to Extend Obligations in 2021 Agreement with Florida’s Volusia County School District to Protect Students with Disabilities

March 22, 2024
Source: U.S. Justice Department

The Justice Department announced today a Memorandum of Agreement (Agreement) with Florida’s Volusia County School (VCS) District, which extends the term of a 2021 settlement agreement between the United States and the district by an additional two years to allow its revised policies and practices for students with disabilities to be fully implemented. The settlement agreement addressed the district’s discriminatory policies and practices that discipline students with disabilities for their disability-related behavior and deny them equal access to VCS’s educational program. In addition to the two-year extension, the Agreement requires the district to take additional critical steps to increase its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.

“Students have the right to go to school and be treated with dignity without fear of being punished for their disabilities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue to vigorously enforce the ADA’s protections for students with disabilities, and this Agreement ensures that the robust changes being implemented by the district can be monitored appropriately.”

“We are encouraged the Volusia County School District has taken initial steps to change its policies and practices, providing critical training to staff and law enforcement and adopting strict accountability measures so that students with disabilities will have equal access to educational programs,” said U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg for the Middle District of Florida. “My office will continue to work with the district to ensure its compliance with the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section (DRS) investigated the case.

Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at justice.gov/crt, and additional information about the work of the DRS is available at ada.gov. Members of the public may report possible civil rights violations at civilrights.justice.gov/report. Information about the Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and a complaint form for the unit can be found at justice.gov/usao-mdfl/civil-rights.

Individuals with information related to the department’s investigation and the district’s compliance with the settlement agreement are encouraged to report such information by email at vcs.compliance@usdoj.gov.

News source: justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-secures-agreement-extend-obligations-2021-agreement-floridas-volusia

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