Deaf kids. Inaccessibility. Education.
That's what this is about. Last week a parent of a deaf child, Emily Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org), brought to the attention of Caption Action 2 the fact that she was paying $5 a month for her deaf child to have access to eBooks through a library app service, which now has educational videos as well. But the educational videos lack captions.
Whaa??? How can a service that is educational, free to elementary school teachers and librarians, not consider the needs of deaf children when adding educational videos??
What company is so blatantly ignoring the needs of deaf children? The service is called Epic! Their website is https://www.getepic.com/. Their Twitter is @epickidsbooks. Facebook is facebook.com/epic.books.for.kids. Caption Action 2 already tweeted them and commented on their Facebook page with no response.
Another member of Caption Action 2 wrote an email to the company at email@example.com, and received the wholly unacceptable response below, reproduced in full. We have added bold text to the key portion.
Thank you for your email. The Read to Me books (green tags) do have visible text accompanying the audio. The purple-tagged audio books do not have captions or any visual pages to turn, they are just pure audio. We have recently added educational videos, and they are not all captioned. Some of them might be if the publishers provided them in that format, but I would say probably most videos are not captioned. We stream the videos in the format that we receive them from publishers, so we aren't able to add our own captions.
Epic! - Books for Kids
A new school year is just around the corner! Does your child's teacher or school library use the Epic service? Contact Epic and insist/demand that they immediately remove all uncaptioned videos because they are apparently in violation of the law. (The National Association of the Deaf has an informative page, "Section 504 and ADA Obligations of Public Schools." If a public school library subscribes to this service and a deaf child in that school cannot watch the videos, then it is a violation.) Tell Epic they should be MANDATING captions on any videos provided by their video suppliers. An educational service for children should not have ANY uncaptioned videos!
Screenshot from uncaptioned video about civil rights figure Rosa Parks. Below the screenshot
are examples of more educational videos, Screenshot provided by the frustrated
parent who contacted Caption Action 2.