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Right to Receive Information from Schools in Your Native Language

Disability Rights Texas Handout

Last updated: 10/2018
Publication Code: n/a

Right to Receive Information from Schools in Your Native Language

This handout is available in Braille and/or on audio tape upon request.

As the parent or legal guardian of a student who receives special education services, you have the right to meaningfully participate in the development and review of your child’s special education program. This can be very challenging if you do not speak or understand English and the school district does not provide interpreters or translate documents into your native language.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is a federal law that sets forth special education laws, you have the right to an interpreter during Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meetings. In addition, you are entitled to receive a copy of your child’s written Individualized Education Program (IEP) in your native language. If you are unable to read in your native language, the school district should provide you with an audio recording of your child’s IEP being read word for word in your native language. An audio recording of an ARD meeting does not meet the requirement that the school district provide you with a copy of your child’s IEP.

There are other federal laws that entitle you to receive more than just your child’s special education documents in your native language. School districts must not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin and have an obligation to ensure parents have meaningful access to information about their child’s education. This means that you should receive your child’s educational records, as well as any information about general school activities and policies that would be provided to other parents in English in your native language. In addition, you should be provided an interpreter at any meetings you attend with school staff, including ARD meetings and parent/teacher conferences.

What You Can Do

Any time you attend a meeting with the school district, you should request an interpreter and copies of any documents that will be reviewed at the meeting in your native language. If the district refuses to provide you with an interpreter, or written information in your native language, you should ask them to document your request and their refusal to grant your request. You can use the form provided at the bottom of this handout to submit your request for a copy of your child’s IEP. If you use the form, make sure to keep a copy for your records. The most important thing is to make requests for information in your native language in writing and never sign a document you can’t understand.

If a school district refuses to provide you with an interpreter at an ARD meeting, or a copy of your child’s IEP in your native language, you can contact Disability Rights Texas for assistance by calling our intake line toll free at 1-800-252-9108, or completing an intake form online at www.disabilityrightstx.org/contact [1].

You can also file a complaint with the Texas Education Agency alleging a violation of your right to have an interpreter provided at meetings and/or receive information in your native language. Information regarding how to file a complaint with the Texas Education Agency can be found at www.tea.state.tx.us [2] under Special Education Dispute Resolution Processes.

You can also file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights alleging discrimination on the basis of national origin for failure to provide you an interpreter at meetings and/or information in your native language. Information regarding how to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html [3].

Disability Rights Texas’ goal is to make each handout understandable by and useful to the general public. If you have suggestions on how this handout can be improved, please contact the agency at the address and telephone number shown on our website home page, www.DisabilityRightsTx.org, or email us at info@DisabilityRightsTx.org. Thank you for your assistance. This handout is available in Braille and/or on audio tape upon request. Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate. The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.

Sample Form

 

        Date       

I,             your name                       , am requesting that you provide me with a copy of my child,                child’s name             ’s, Individualized Education Program (IEP) in my native language of           your native language            within ten (10) school days. If you refuse to provide me with a copy of my child’s IEP in my native language, please document your refusal in my child’s IEP. Thank you.

             Signature
                Name
                 Date

 


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www.DRTx.org
Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Main Line: 512-454-4816

Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.