Rights for Limited English Proficient Parents or Guardians
Must my child’s school provide information to me in a language I can understand?
¿Está obligada la escuela de mi hijo a proporcionarme información en un idioma que yo entienda?
If you are a parent or guardian of a student, and you do not speak fluent English, you are considered a “Limited English Proficient” (LEP) parent or guardian. As an LEP parent or guardian, you have a right to receive access to information in your first language.
By law, a school must provide access to a translator or interpreter free of charge. This means you should not have to pay money for an interpreter. Even if you speak a limited amount of English, you can, and should, ask for an interpreter at all school meetings.
Do not use your child as a translator. Even when your child is fluent in English, it is best to use a trained translator or interpreter. If a teacher or school faculty member tries to communicate important information to you through your child, tell them they must use a translator or interpreter instead. It is your right to have a trained translator present.
For a full list of what a school must provide - in English
- Para la traducción al español
- For Arabic
- For Chinese
- For Cambodian
- For Hmong
- For Korean
- For Laotian
- For Russian
- For Tagalog
- For Vietnamese
What to do if the school does not provide an interpreter or translator?
First, show them the document above and tell them it is required by law. If they still do not listen, call 800.877.8339 and file a complaint. Remember, it is your right to have access to information in your first language, so do not let a school communicate important information to you without it.
For all fact sheets and translations, see the US Department of Education Resource page: Schools' Civil Rights Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents.
For access to this information and more, in other languages, visit US Department of Education.
This guide was developed as part of a project made possible by a Grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the Ohio State Bar Foundation.
Lead researcher/author: Tia Garcia, J.D. Candidate, 2019, RedTreehouse.org Legal Intern