Marcie Lipsitt used to enjoy checking the mail. But these days, not so much.Over the course of several years, the disability rights activist has filed thousands of federal civil rights complaints against school districts and universities across the country — all part of a personal crusade to make websites accessible for people with disabilities.
Lipsitt said state education departments, prestigious universities, and large school districts — even specialty schools geared toward students who are blind or deaf — often provide sprawling websites that fail to comply with federal accessibility laws. Filing civil rights complaints en masse, she found, was an efficient tool to improve web access for people with disabilities, including those who are blind or deaf or have fine motor impairments.
As a result of her complaints, her mailbox was routinely flooded with letters from the Education Department, and often, she was pleased with what she found inside.
Each month, the 58-year-old said, the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) would open as many as 150 new investigations based on her complaints. Simultaneously, she received as many as 100 letters a month notifying her that an institution had signed a resolution agreement to fix the problem.
But in 2018, things are looking bleak for Marcie Lipsitt.