- The parties to this Settlement Agreement are the United States of America and Gulliver Academy, Inc.
- Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12181 et seq., is referred to as "Title III" or the "ADA."
The parties agree to the following:
- Gulliver Academy, Inc. ("Gulliver") is a private entity that owns elementary and secondary schools in or near Coral Gables, Florida, and its operations affect commerce and are places of public accommodation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12181.
- Title III of the ADA sets forth various prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of disability which are applicable to Gulliver's facilities and its operations. 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12182.
- In September 1998, the United States Department of Justice ("Department") received an administrative complaint alleging that XXX XXX, a former sixth grade student at Gulliver Academy, had been discriminated against by Gulliver in violation of Title III of the ADA.
- The United States and Gulliver have determined that their respective interests can be met by resolving this matter at this time by voluntarily entering into this Settlement Agreement.
- The Attorney General is authorized by section 308(b) of Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12188(b), to institute a civil action against a private entity that operates a place of public accommodation when necessary to enforce the provisions of Title III. In consideration of the parties entering into this Settlement Agreement, the Attorney General shall not institute any civil action alleging discrimination by Gulliver in violation of Title III with respect to the matters contained in the administrative complaint.
- Gulliver denies that it has violated Title III of the ADA with respect to the matters contained in the administrative complaint. This Settlement Agreement shall not be construed as an admission of any unlawful act or omission by Gulliver.
MODIFICATIONS TO POLICIES, PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES
- Training: Within six months of the effective date of this Settlement Agreement, Gulliver shall provide to its Principals, Assistant Principals, Guidance Counselors, Admission Director(s) and Disability Coordinator at least three hours of training on issues relating to the rights and needs of children with disabilities in a school setting. Such training shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the concept of reasonable modification of policies, practices and procedures.
- Disability Coordinator: Gulliver shall assign a central office staff member to be Gulliver's "Disability Coordinator," who shall serve as Gulliver's chief coordinator for issues relating to students with disabilities.
- Accessibility Review: Within six months of the effective date of this Settlement Agreement, Gulliver shall secure the services of an outside consultant who shall review all issues relating to the removal of barriers to access at Gulliver Academy in light of applicable laws, and shall make recommendation when necessary to ensure compliance with the same. As soon as practicable, Gulliver shall implement the consultant's recommendations as necessary to ensure compliance.
- Administrative Protocol: Within six months of the effective date of this Settlement Agreement, Gulliver formally shall adopt and implement written policies, practices and procedures which shall govern, when necessary, accommodation(s)/modification(s) to be provided for students with disabilities. The same shall, at a minimum, include the following general considerations:
- Initiation of Collaborative Process: Well in advance of the beginning of a new academic school year, Gulliver shall provide written notice to the parents/guardians of new Gulliver students explaining: (1) Gulliver's commitment to compliance with applicable laws governing the rights of students with disabilities; (2) Gulliver's commitment to provide reasonable modification(s) of its policies, practices and procedures, when necessary, to ensure that students with disabilities shall receive an education comparable to that provided to other students at the school; (3) that parents/guardians whose disabled child potentially may need some manner of reasonable accommodation/modification must contact Gulliver's Disability Coordinator to make an appointment to meet with Gulliver staff; (4) that the participants at such a meeting shall discuss in a collaborative manner what reasonable accommodation(s)/modification(s), if any, would be necessary to be provided to ensure that the student receives an education comparable to that provided to other students at the school; and (5) that the collaborative process shall result in the formulation of a written plan to be implemented in time for the beginning of the academic school year for which the student seeks admittance.
- Participants in Collaborative Process: With respect to a particular student, during all discussions held both internally within Gulliver and with parents/guardians, Gulliver shall be represented by, at a minimum: (1) at least one of the student's teachers; (2) the school's guidance counselor; (3) at least one official of Gulliver with decision-making authority for Gulliver; and (4) Gulliver's Disability Coordinator. To the extent practicable, in all such discussions concerning a particular student, the same Gulliver staff shall participate.
- Nature of Collaborative Process: Participants in the collaborative process shall take as much time as necessary to engage in a meaningful discussion about the nature of the student's disability and all issues related to it that are relevant to that student's educational experience, shall explore fully whether there are any reasonable modification(s) that Gulliver may provide that are necessary to ensure that the student receives an education comparable to that provided to other students at the school, and shall determine whether any information is necessary to be obtained from third parties that are necessary to the process. The specific issues to be discussed and explored shall include (when applicable), among other things: the student's mobilization on and around the campus, safety, special equipment or assistive devices, supplemental educational resources or materials, transportation, or health maintenance and monitoring. With respect to students with mobility impairments, the participants actually shall proceed through the route that the student is expected to take to move from class to class during a typical school day, in order to ensure that accommodation(s)/modification(s) contemplated with respect to that issue are reasonable.
- Nature of Written Plan: As a result of the collaborative process, a written plan shall be prepared by Gulliver and signed by the parent/guardian and a Gulliver representative. The plan shall describe in detail: (1) the issue(s) of concern that were identified by the participants; (2) the agreed-upon strategy to address each concern; (3) what (if any) reasonable modification(s) are to be provided by Gulliver; and (4) what (if any) responsibilities are to be assumed by the parent/guardian.
- Plan Implementation: The written plan shall be implemented in time to be effective the first day of school. Implementation shall include a full briefing of each Gulliver administrator, teacher or other staff member who is expected to interact with the student, as to the relevant items contained in the plan.
- Plan Flexibility: In the event either the parent/guardian or Gulliver believes at any time that the written plan should be modified, the participants in the collaborative process shall reconvene for that purpose. The plan may be modified at any time in accordance with the procedures governing the creation of a plan.
- Maintenance of Information: With respect to a written plan that addresses the needs of a student with a disability, all discussions held either by Gulliver staff internally, with the parent/guardian or a third party, shall be memorialized, maintained and filed separately from academic records. At all times, Gulliver or any individual acting on its behalf shall ensure that all information relating to such a student remain confidential.
- Implementation of Settlement Agreement: Where applicable, Gulliver shall revise the literature it produces and disseminates to parents/guardians and members of the public to reflect the modifications to its policies, practices and procedures that result from this Settlement Agreement. Furthermore, upon entering into this Agreement, Gulliver shall advise its central office and school-based staff as to the matters addressed in it.
- Gulliver shall reimburse the XXX family for the out of pocket expenses (not already reimbursed) incurred by the family for books to be used at Gulliver Academy for the 1998-1999 academic school year.
- Gulliver shall notify in writing the undersigned counsel for the United States when it has completed the actions required of it pursuant to this Settlement Agreement.
- The United States may review compliance with this Settlement Agreement at any time. The United States may institute a civil action in the appropriate United States District Court to enforce the applicable provisions of the ADA or this Agreement, or both, if the United States determines that this Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated. Prior to instituting a civil enforcement action, the United States shall raise its concern(s) with Gulliver and shall attempt to resolve those concerns in good faith. Gulliver shall be given thirty days to address those concerns prior to the institution of an action by the United States.
- Failure by the United States to enforce this entire Settlement Agreement or any of its provisions shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other provisions of this Agreement.
- An individual executing this document in a representative capacity for either party is authorized to bind that party to this Settlement Agreement.
- This Settlement Agreement shall be in effect for two years commencing on its effective date which shall be the date of the last signature below. This Agreement shall be binding on all of Gulliver's successors in interest, and Gulliver has a duty to so notify all such successors in interest about the Agreement.
- This Settlement Agreement is a public document. Copies of this Agreement or any information contained herein may be made available to any person.
- This document constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or the agents of either party, that is not contained in this Settlement Agreement shall be enforceable. This Agreement is limited to the matters raised herein, and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or other federal law. This Agreement does not affect the continuing responsibility of Gulliver to comply with all applicable provisions of the ADA.
For Gulliver Academy, Inc.:
By: ______________________ Date:____________
Michael W. Casey, III
Muller, Mintz, Kornreich, Caldwell,
Casey, Crosland & Bramnick, P.A.
200 South Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, Florida 33131
(303) 379-3802 (Fax)
For the United States of America:
Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
By: _______________________ Date:____________
John L. Wodatch
Allison J. Nichol
Steven E. Butler
Harold L. Jackson
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
Post Office Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
Thomas E. Scott
United States Attorney
Southern District of Florida
By: _______________________ Date:____________
Assistant United States Attorney
Office of United States Attorney
(Southern District of Florida
(99 Northeast Fourth Street
(Miami, Florida 33132