The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights entered into a Resolution Agreement (Agreement) on June 27, 2013, with the DeKalb County School District (District) to resolve a proactive enforcement action initiated at the District in February 2011.
Following an investigation, OCR found that the District did not meet the requirements of civil rights laws in providing national origin-minority, limited English proficient (LEP) parents with meaningful access to important information about their children’s education in a language they can understand. The District did not adequately notify LEP parents of important school-related opportunities and services that are made available to non-LEP parents. Specifically, OCR found inconsistencies in the identification of LEP parents, inadequate notice to LEP parents of their rights to interpreters or translations, deficiencies in the availability of qualified interpreters and written translations, inadequate notice to District staff of these services, and a lack of monitoring the effectiveness of these services. The Agreement is intended to resolve those concerns.
Under the Agreement, the District will:
- Develop and implement a written plan to provide language assistance (language assistance plan) to LEP parents that ensures that they have meaningful access to the District’s programs and activities. The new language assistance plan will include a process for obtaining qualified interpreters, notifying LEP parents of language assistance sevices, identifying LEP parents, and identifying and translating vital written documents.
- Train District staff on the new language assistance plan for effectively communicating with LEP parents. Staff training will consist of a review of the language assistance plan, and will include training on the importance of effective communication with LEP parents, use of interpreters when staff receive or make calls to language-minority individuals, and applicable record-keeping procedures and reporting requirements. Additionally, the District will have a trainer, qualified in addressing cultural sensitivity issues, train staff on the impact of ethnic and cultural differences on effective communication and the importance of cultural sensitivity in communicating with LEP parents.
- Develop and implement an annual evaluation of the effectiveness of its language assistance plan.
OCR will actively monitor the District’s implementation of the Resolution Agreement until it has determined that the District has fulfilled the terms of the Agreement and is in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.
Enforcement of Title VI is a top priority of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Additional information about OCR is available on its Web site at www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html.