Milnor Public School District and the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of North Dakota reached a settlement agreement last week on allegations that the school district violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The complaint alleged the newly constructed playground at Milnor Public School isn’t accessible to students with disabilities and that the school district didn’t provide accessible transportation to a student with a disability for a field trip, according to a press release.
An investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office found “serious barriers” to access for students with disabilities at the playground, including an engineered wood fiber playground surface that was loose and unstable, in which someone using a wheelchair would have “extreme difficulty” navigating the playground.
The office also found the route to the playground included changes in levels, running slopes and cross slopes “far exceeding” those permitted under ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
They also confirmed the incident of a student with a disability being picked up and carried to a non-accessible school bus for the field trip during the school day rather than being provided with accessible transportation.
The school district has agreed to make modifications to the playground by Sept. 1 to make it ADA compliant, according to the terms of the settlement, and when transporting students with disabilities who require mobility devices such as wheelchairs, the district will use vehicles with lifts or ramps to properly assist students.