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Press Release

The United States Settles With Borough Of Bellefonte To Make Public Meetings Accessible To Those With Hearing Disabilities

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that the Borough of Bellefonte has agreed under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that proper auxiliary aides and services, including qualified sign-language interpreters are made available to those with hearing disabilities at all its public meetings.  When the Borough records or broadcasts its meetings, the Borough will ensure that those meetings will have an “in frame’ American Sign Language interpreter.  The Borough will also identify an ADA Coordinator, provide notice to those with disabilities on how to contact the ADA Coordinator, and establish an ADA grievance procedure.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, the United States Attorney’s Office received a complaint from an individual with a hearing disability that the Borough did not provide her with an auxiliary device during in-person council meeting or have an interpreter for the taped broadcast.  The Borough also did not have a process by which the disabled could request accommodations or file complaints of inaccessibility, nor did it have an ADA coordinator.  After an investigation, with the Borough’s cooperation, the United States Attorney’s Office found that the complaint had merit. 

“The right to participate, attend, or watch public local government meetings is a fundamental right in a democracy, and those with hearing disabilities cannot be excluded” said U.S. Attorney Karam.  “This agreement ensures that individuals with disabilities in the Borough will now have an ADA Coordinator who can answer questions, accept accommodations requests like auxiliary aides for council meetings, and receive disability complaints.”

This investigation was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Butler, the Civil Rights Coordinator.  Members of the public may report possible civil rights violations at Anyone in the Middle District of Pennsylvania may also report civil rights violations to the Civil Rights Coordinator of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania by calling 717-614-4911 or emailing 

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Updated December 8, 2023