RELEASED: October 25, 2018
| Department of Justice
Ohio – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio announced that the United States has resolved its review under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of five Northwest Ohio area high school athletic stadiums. The review focused on a complaint alleging that the stadiums did not provide equal access to persons with disabilities.
In resolution of the complaint, high schools completed renovations to their athletic stadiums making them more accessible to persons with disabilities in compliance with the ADA.
School districts for Bryan, Evergreen, Wauseon, Swanton, and Montpelier renovated their home and visitor side bleachers, adding or modifying integrated accessible seating, ramps, ticket windows, and took other steps to allow access for everyone to enjoy events at their high school stadiums. Throughout the review, district personnel for each school made it clear that they are committed to providing equal access for all members of the community.
The review was prompted by a complaint filed by The Ability Center of Toledo on behalf of a couple that regularly attended high school football games. That became more difficult after the husband had a stroke and used a wheelchair. The couple discovered some schools did not have accessible seating.
U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said: “There are few things better to do on an autumn night in Ohio than go watch high school football, and these agreements will ensure that everyone in the community will be able to root for their hometown team in person. The school districts are to be credited for working collaboratively and making these changes to their facilities.”
This year marks the 28th anniversary of the passage of the ADA, which provides in part that no qualified individual with a disability shall, because of that disability, be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in the services, programs, and activities of all state or local government entities. Under title II of the ADA, public school districts have an obligation to make services, programs, and activities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. This includes programs or activities held at high school athletic stadiums.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Angelita Cruz Bridges handled this matter for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.