Civil rights complaint filed against district |

Civil rights complaint filed against district

The Federal Office of Civil Rights is investigating Moffat County High School regarding a complaint about handicapped parking spaces.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Education press office, a complaint was filed Nov. 6, 2009, against the school district on the grounds of discrimination based on a disability.

Jim Bradshaw, of the U.S. Department of Education press office, said OCR will look into an allegation that the district discriminated on the basis of disability by not enforcing the designated parking spaces for people with mobility impairments at the high school and at school football games.

The complainant alleged that requirements for handicapped parking spaces at the high school were not properly enforced.

According to Bradshaw, the OCR also will investigate allegations that the district did not respond appropriately when the complainant first complained about the lack of enforcement of handicap parking space use.

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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities.

“We are cooperating fully with the investigation,” high school Principal Thom Schnellinger said.

Superintendent Joe Petrone’s comments echoed the principal’s. He also added that district officials are waiting on OCR to make a final determination.

The investigation is only one step in the complaint process, Bradshaw said, and does not indicate that OCR has taken a position on the case.

“Opening a complaint for investigation in no way implies that OCR has made a determination on the merits of the case,” Bradshaw said. “Rather, the office is merely a neutral fact-finder.

“It will collect and analyze all relevant evidence from the parties involved in the case to develop its findings.”

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