Some common questions about the rights of parents and guardians who do not speak, listen, read, or write English proficiently because it is not their primary language.*

Must my child’s school provide information to me in a language I can understand?

Yes. Schools must communicate information to limited English proficient parents in a language they can understand about any program, service, or activity that is called to the attention of parents who are proficient in English. This includes, but is not limited to, information related to:

  • registration and enrollment in school and school programs
  • language assistance programs
  • report cards
  • student discipline policies and procedures
  • special education and related services, and meetings to discuss special education
  • parent-teacher conferences
  • grievance procedures and notices of nondiscrimination
  • parent handbooks
  • gifted and talented programs
  • magnet and charter schools
  • requests for parent permission for student participation in school activities

Must a school provide language assistance if I request it even if my child is proficient in English and I am somewhat proficient in English?

Yes. Schools must respond to a parent’s request for language assistance and remember that parents can be limited English proficient even if their child is proficient in English.

May my child’s school ask my child, other students, or untrained school staff to translate or interpret for me?

No. Schools must provide translation or interpretation from appropriate and competent individuals and may not rely on or ask students, siblings, friends, or untrained school staff to translate or interpret for parents.

What information should I expect from the school if my child is an English learner?

When your child enrolls, you should receive a home language survey or similar form to fill out that helps the school identify potential English learners, who are eligible for language assistance services. If your child is identified as an English learner, the school must notify you in writing within 30 days of the school year starting with information about your child’s English language proficiency level, programs and services available to meet your child’s educational needs, and your right to opt your child out of a program or particular services for English learners. For more information about the rights of English learners, visit

* U.S. Department of Justice; U.S. Department of Education. Information for Limited English Proficient (LEP) Parents and Guardians and for Schools and School Districts that Communicate with Them