Civil Rights Deal Signals Federal Push for Translation Services
Expanded services for parents part of Phila. accord
By Mary Ann Zehr
March 3, 2011
The Philadelphia school district has been beefing up language-translation services for parents to carry out a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, in what is seen as a signal that the federal government is planning to press harder on schools to make school-to-home communications more accessible to all parents with limited English skills.
The Philadelphia settlement requires the district to inform LEP parents at South Philadelphia High School by the start of the school year or no later than 10 days after their child is identified as an English-language learner that the district provides translation/interpretation services to parents free of charge. It requires the district to continue to provide interpretation services to students or their parents whenever an ELL faces the prospect of a suspension, expulsion, or disciplinary transfer. Any documents about an alleged or actual harassment incident or disciplinary action taken against an ELL student at South Philadelphia High School must be translated for parents. The Asian students who were victims in the widely publicized attacks at the school last year were English-language learners.
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