The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notified State Agencies (SA) of a revised Equal Opportunity Public Notification Policy which includes:
the revised REQUIRED Nondiscrimination Statement,
an updated “And Justice for All” posters and
the REQUIRED timeline for implementation on October 14, 2015.
REVISED REQUIRED NON-DISCRIMINATION STATEMENT
The revised REQUIRED Nondiscrimination Statement is attached to this Commissioner’s Memo.
Districts must post the Nondiscrimination Statement in its entirety containing only those protected bases mandated in applicable Federal Law. The statement must be posted in all USDA program service areas and included on all print and non-print materials (including but not limited to audio, video, websites, brochures, newsletters, menus, by-laws, etc.) produced by USDA programs for public information, public education and public distribution.
The statement lists all prohibited bases for discrimination contained in USDA’s Civil Rights Policy Statement. Note that religion is not a protected class for USDA’s Child Nutrition Programs including the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Afterschool Snack Program. Therefore, school districts are not required to make accommodation for student’s based on Religious beliefs.
The Nondiscrimination Statement must be made available in English and other languages (including alternative means of communication such as Braille, large print or audiotape, etc.) as appropriate to the local population served or directly affected by any USDA program or activity. All communication posted on websites must also comply with Section 508 and with all applicable civil rights laws, regulations, Executive Orders and policies. Districts are required to notify applicants with disabilities and LEP (Limited English Proficiency) persons of their right to free language assistance and accommodations and must provide free language assistance and accommodations upon request. USDA is in the process of translating the Nondiscrimination Statement into languages other than English. When those are made available, a Commissioner’s Memo will be issued to make the announcement.
The Nondiscrimination Statement must be used in it’s entirety, except if the size of the material is too small to include the full statement, the material will, at a minimum, include the following statement in print the same size as the document text: “This institution is an equal opportunity provider.”
When an audio or video presentation does not reasonably lend itself to including the full statement, the presentation will, at a minimum, include the following statement, presented in a conspicuous and meaningful manner: “This institution is an equal opportunity provider.”
“AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” POSTERS:
The USDA poster “And Justice for All” will be the primary method utilized to inform customers of their rights. The poster must be displayed in all school child nutrition offices and in each cafeteria serving area where it may be read/viewed by customers (students, teachers, visitors).
All “And Justice for All” posters must be 11” X 17” with text no smaller than 14 point. Only the official USDA poster must be used unless prior written authorization is obtained from the Director of the Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) at the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). The revised posters are currently in the design/printing phase at USDA. Posters will be distributed to school districts when they are received by ADE, CNU. A timeline for distribution cannot be determined at this time. Once the district receives the revised poster, older versions must be removed and replaced with the newer version.
REQUIRED TIMELINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION:
All documents, pamphlets, websites, etc. should be updated as follows:
Website must be updated by November 20, 2015.
Documents, pamphlets, brochures, etc. using 2013 Nondiscrimination Statement language prior to 2013 must be updated by December 31, 2015.
Documents, pamphlets, brochures, etc. using 2013 Nondiscrimination Statement language should be updated when supplies are exhausted or by September 30, 2016; or
All new printing must use the 2015 Nondiscrimination Statement.
Confirmation of compliance to these regulations (use and posting of the correct Nondiscrimination Statement on publications, including menus and newsletters, as well as district websites with menus or other Child Nutrition Program information) will be part of the federal monitoring review, either Coordinated Review Effort (CRE) or Administrative Review.