An Ohio online charter school was cited by the U.S. Department of Education for failing to serve students with disabilities, the department announced this week.
The school agreed to make a host of changes in response to the federal findings.
That agreement marks a “first-of-its-kind resolution” that promises “equal access to educational opportunities for students with disabilities in virtual charter schools,” according to the department.
Enrollment in online schools is growing rapidly in Ohio and nationwide. There are currently more than 30,000 Ohio students enrolled in online charter schools. Three new online schools opened this year.
The findings were the result of a two-year federal investigation into whether Virtual Community School of Ohio followed federal laws requiring schools to provide equal access to educational opportunities for students with disabilities.
Virtual Community School of Ohio is privately operated but overseen by the Reynoldsburg school district. About one-quarter of its approximately 1,100 students have a disability. School officials could not be reached for comment on Friday.
The federal investigation found that the school’s online classes were not accessible to students who are blind or who have other disabilities.
It also found that the school did not follow federal laws related to identifying and educating students with disabilities.
To conclude the federal investigation, Virtual Community School of Ohio agreed to make a host of changes, including making its online classes accessible to all students.
The school also agreed to improve how it identifies and serves students with disabilities and to provide a way for parents and others to submit grievances about how students with disabilities are treated.
The U.S. Department of Education says it will “closely monitor” whether the school follows through.