The following letter can be sent as an email or letter via U.S. mail to your local and state education officials. Request that they acknowledge receipt of the letter in writing. Each locality has different representatives, but you may want to send this letter to local city councilmembers, county commissioners, local school board members, or state school board members.
Please modify this letter to better tell your child’s story and relate the challenges to your local circumstances. If you have an older child, they may want to write their own letter or co-sign the letter with you.
Dear [name of education official]:
My child [is blind/has low vision/has multiple disabilities/is deafblind] and attends [name of school] in [City, State]. During the COVID-19 pandemic, my child’s school has engaged in virtual learning to protect the safety of students. While I appreciate the efforts our teachers have made to continue my child’s education, I am deeply concerned that some of the technologies used are not fully accessible to my child.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees students with disabilities the right to a free appropriate public education. When classroom materials, lessons, and tools are not accessible, my child is not receiving the instruction [he/she/they] deserves. [Describe some of the tools or platforms used, how they are inaccessible to your blind/low vision/multiply disabled/deafblind child, and how that inaccessibility affects their participation in their education.]
I am asking you to ensure that all schools commit to procuring and using only accessible educational technologies that meet the highest industry-standards, namely the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that identifies criteria for accessibility and which has been incorporated into Section 508 regulations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Additionally, administrators should provide general education teachers with training on accessibility, such as how to create accessible videos, slide decks, and printouts, in order to deliver services to students and their families more appropriately. It is likely that schools will continue to use technologies in new ways once all children are back in the physical classroom. Therefore, making a commitment to digital accessibility now will continue to help students, including my own child, well into the future.
Thank you for your time and attention to this request. I look forward to your response and would appreciate written acknowledgement of this letter.