On February 4, 2103, OCR resolved a Title VI compliance review of the Tulsa Public Schools (District). OCR’s review assessed whether the District discriminates against limited English proficient (LEP) parents and guardians by failing to ensure they have meaningful access to information that is provided to parents and guardians in English. Prior to the completion of OCR’s investigation, the District submitted a Resolution Agreement that, when fully implemented, will address the issue assessed in the compliance review. At the time OCR opened the compliance review, the District did not have written policies or procedures for responding to parent requests for documents in languages other than English or requests for a foreign language interpreter, and did not consistently track or keep records regarding which parents in the District are LEP and when the District received requests from and provided translation or interpreter services, or translation/interpreter services to LEP parents. OCR’s preliminary investigation indicated that the District did not have a set process in place for notifying LEP parents that it has interpreters and translators available for school-related communications and sometimes had students serve as interpreters for parents. The investigation also suggested that the District did not consistently evaluate or assess the language skills of the District and non-District employees it uses as interpreters and translators and did not provide training to its foreign language interpreters and translators regarding the role of an interpreter/translator, the ethics of interpreting and translating, and the need to maintain confidentiality. In addition, the investigation noted that the District did not have as many resources in place for communicating with LEP parents who speak a language other than Spanish as it did for Spanish-speaking parents.
Under the Resolution Agreement, the District must submit a detailed plan to OCR for providing language assistance services to LEP parents and guardians ensuring the parents and guardians have meaningful access to information about the District’s programs and activities. As part of its implementation of this plan, the District will provide language assistance services to all LEP parents and guardians of District students who need such assistance with respect to information about school programs and activities that are provided to other parents and guardians. The Resolution Agreement also requires the District to provide training for administrators and staff regarding the provision of language assistance services to LEP parents and guardians, and to ensure that all District employees who serve as interpreters and translators for LEP parents and guardians are appropriately trained and proficient in the languages spoken by the parents/guardians. OCR will monitor the District’s compliance with the Resolution Agreement.