JUN 30 1994

The Honorable Harold L. Volkmer Member, U.S. House of Representatives Federal Building, Room 370 Hannibal, Missouri 63401 Dear Congressman Volkmer: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Colonel Ronald Kelly, President of the Missouri Military Academy, regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Colonel Kelly's letter indicates some confusion regarding the scope of the ADA. The ADA is a comprehensive civil rights law. It seeks to eliminate the barriers that have previously kept persons with disabilities from full access to the mainstream of American life. Title III of the ADA addresses such barriers by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, including private schools. The ADA does not exempt military schools. As Colonel Kelly has noted, the ADA sets cut certain requirements for accessibility of buildings and facilities. For existing buildings and facilities, the ADA requires a public accommodation to remove architectural and communication barriers to access to the extent such barrier removal is readily achievable. 28 C.F.R. 36.304. A list of examples of barrier removal is provided by the enclosed regulation implementing title III at p. 35597. For alterations to, and new construction of, buildings and facilities, the ADA requires full compliance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (Standards), 28 C.F.R. part 36, appendix A, which provide detailed minimum guidelines for accessible buildings. Colonel Kelly's letter mentions that the


-2Missouri Military Academy may be building new barracks for its students. Such new barracks would be required to comply with the general requirements of the Standards and also with section 9 of the Standards, which provides additional requirements for dormitories and similar places of lodging. The barracks may also be required to comply with the Department of Housing and Urban Development's guidelines implementing the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988. Colonel Kelly also specifically mentions the possible need to include an elevator in any newly constructed barracks. The ADA generally requires an accessible elevator in new construction. However, if the facility being built has less than three stories or has less than 3,000 square feet per story, the ADA does not require provision of an elevator. The application of the ADA is not, however, limited to the buildings and facilities of covered entities. The policies, practices, and procedures of public accommodations can also sometimes constitute barriers to full participation by individuals with disabilities. For this reason, the ADA prohibits a public accommodation from applying eligibility criteria that screen out individuals with disabilities, unless the public accommodation can show that the criteria are necessary for the provision of the services at issue. 28 C.F.R. ​ 36.301(a). In addition, the ADA requires that a covered entity make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and

procedures when necessary to ensure full participation of individuals with disabilities, unless the public accommodation can show that the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the services provided. 28 C.F.R. 36.302. The ADA also requires a public accommodation to provide auxiliary aids and services, such as brailled material or sign language interpreters, when necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities, unless the public accommodation can show that providing such aids would fundamentally alter the nature of the services at issue or would result in an undue burden. 28 C.F.R. 36.303. These provisions may require the Missouri Military Academy to review its admissions policies and the requirements of its programs and, if necessary, to modify them to ensure that individuals with disabilities are given the opportunity to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy the benefits of the programs offered by the Academy.


-3I hope this information will be useful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General

Civil Rights Division Enclosure