• 25 Apr, 2024

The Justice Department has announced the extension of a Memorandum of Agreement (Agreement) with Florida’s Volusia County School (VCS) District, building upon a 2021 settlement agreement between the United States and the district.

This extension, spanning an additional two years, aims to facilitate the full implementation of revised policies and practices for students with disabilities.

The Justice Department has announced the extension of a Memorandum of Agreement (Agreement) with Florida’s Volusia County School (VCS) District, building upon a 2021 settlement agreement between the United States and the district.

This extension, spanning an additional two years, aims to facilitate the full implementation of revised policies and practices for students with disabilities.

The original settlement agreement aimed to address discriminatory policies and practices within the district that disciplined students with disabilities for behavior related to their disabilities, thus denying them equal access to VCS’s educational program.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division emphasized the importance of ensuring that students with disabilities can attend school without fear of punishment for their disabilities.

Clarke highlighted the department's commitment to vigorously enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to protect the rights of students with disabilities.

The Agreement signifies a commitment to monitor the robust changes being implemented by the district effectively.

U.

S.

Attorney Roger Handberg for the Middle District of Florida expressed encouragement regarding the initial steps taken by the Volusia County School District to amend its policies and practices.

These steps include providing essential training to staff and law enforcement and adopting strict accountability measures to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to educational programs.

Handberg affirmed the continued collaboration between his office and the district to ensure compliance with the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement.

Investigation and Oversight

The U.

S.

Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section (DRS) conducted the investigation into the case.

These entities have worked diligently to address the issues identified and ensure that students with disabilities receive the support and accommodations necessary to thrive within the educational system.

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.

This open communication channel allows stakeholders to contribute to the ongoing monitoring and enforcement of the Agreement, ensuring that the rights of students with disabilities are protected.

Ensuring Equal Access to Education

The extension of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Justice Department and the Volusia County School District represents a significant step toward fostering inclusivity and equal access to education for students with disabilities.

By addressing discriminatory policies and practices and implementing necessary reforms, the district is working to create a more supportive and equitable learning environment for all students.

As the Agreement enters its extended term, ongoing collaboration and oversight will be essential to ensure that the district remains committed to its obligations.

Through continued monitoring and enforcement efforts, the Justice Department and its partners will strive to uphold the rights of students with disabilities and promote a culture of inclusivity within educational institutions.

Resources for Reporting Civil Rights Violations

Members of the public who encounter possible civil rights violations are encouraged to report such incidents through the appropriate channels.

The Civil Rights Division and the U.

S.

Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida provide avenues for reporting violations and seeking assistance.

These resources empower individuals to play a proactive role in safeguarding civil rights and promoting accountability within their communities.