Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) is a non-profit regional law firm that provides high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Reaches Settlement with DPS to Improve Translation and Interpretation for Parents
Every child deserves to have their parents involved in their education. Public schools are required to communicate with parents about their children’s education in a language the parents understand - under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, it’s the law.
Limited-English proficient (LEP) parents at Dayton Public Schools will soon have improved translation and interpretation accommodations, thanks to a recently signed resolution agreement between the school system and the U.S. Department of Education. Several LEP parents filed the initial complaint with ABLE’s assistance.
Under the resolution, the district has agreed to modify its current communications plan to provide adequate language assistance to LEP parents or guardians, including assistance as it relates to special education, by April 8, 2022. LEP families will be provided with free language assistance about school programs, activities, and essential documents, and notification on how to ask for for these services without complicated processes or barriers. Additionally, the district will implement a district-wide effort to inform and educate staff of the improved LEP parent and student requirements.
Improvements required in the resolution include easier access for LEP parents to request interpreters for meetings and phone calls, as well as translation of important written documents, such as safety protocols, disciplinary notices, registration/enrollment forms, emergency notification forms, report cards and student progress reports, notices of parent-teacher conferences or meetings, parent handbooks and fact sheets, documentation regarding academic options, including gifted and talented programs, alternative language programs, Individualized Education Programs, and counseling and guidance services.
ABLE Managing Attorney Renee Murphy, who filed the complaint on behalf of the Dayton families, explains that the resolution is a good first step in addressing discrimination based on national origin: “This gives all Dayton Public Schools parents equal access and understanding of their children’s education, regardless of their first language. The changes that can come from agreements like this can significantly impact the educational paths of many LEP students when their parents have the ability to participate.”