March 22, 2017
The Justice Department announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Pea Ridge School District of Pea Ridge, Arkansas (PRSD), to remedy alleged violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Department previously issued a Letter of Findings outlining how PRSD excluded three students after reviewing a document in its possession referencing the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status of the students' family member. PRSD initially concluded that the students were not to be allowed back into the school district until they underwent HIV testing and the results were returned to PRSD. Following the students' exclusion from school and extracurricular activities for multiple days, PRSD changed its position, readmitting the students prior to its receipt of their HIV test results.
The agreement requires PRSD to adopt and implement a written non-discrimination policy that makes clear that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability and that those individuals who are "regarded as disabled" or are associated with a person with a disability are covered by the ADA's protections. PRSD has also agreed to revise its "Communicable Diseases and Parasites" policy to state that HIV is not considered to be a condition requiring a student's exclusion from school under that policy; to provide ADA training to PRSD instructors and administrators; to report on its compliance with the agreement; and to pay $15,000 in compensatory damages.
To find out more about this agreement or the ADA,
call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA information line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD),
or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov.
Article Credit: U.S. Department of Justice