Interpretation and Translation Services
All parents have the right to information about their child's education in a language they understand. When your child enrolls in school, the school will ask you about the language you would like to use when communication with the school. This helps your school identify your language needs so they can provide an interpreter or translated documents, free of charge.
What you can expect from your school and school district
You are an important part of your child's education! The school should communicate with you - in your language - about your child's education. This often includes translated documents and a language interpreter for meetings and conversations.
You have the right to these services even if you speak some English and even if your child can speak or read in English.
The school should communicate with you in your language about important information and opportunities for your child. This includes information about:
- Registration and enrollment in school
- Grades, academic standards and graduation
- School rules and student discipline
- Attendance, absences, and withdrawal
- Parent permission for activities or programs
- Health, safety, and emergencies
- School closures
- Opportunities to access programs or services - including highly capable, advanced placement, and English language learner programs
- Special Education and services for students with disabilities
Meetings and conversations with teachers and school employees
When you talk with teachers of school employees, the school should offer an interpreter if you need one. This includes parent-teacher conferences, meetings about special education, or any other conversations about your child's education.
The school should use only competent interpreters who are fluent in English and in your language. The school should make sure interpreters understand any terms or concepts that will be used during the meeting. The school should not use students or children as interpreters.
The interpreter should be neutral and should communicate everything said during the conversation. They should not omit or add to what anyone says. The school should make sure interpreters understand their role and the need to keep information confidential. The interpreter might be in person or on the phone and might be district staff or an outside contractor.
The school should offer an interpreter for any meetings or conversations at school or about your child's education. You can also ask the school if you need one.
The school should translate important written information into the most common languages spoken in your school district. If you receive information that is not in your language, please let the school know if you would like it translated in writing or explained orally to you in your language.
Addressing concerns and complaints
These are your rights!
Under state and federal civil rights laws, you have the right to access information in your language. If you have concerns about the school's interpretation or translation services - or if you were not offered an interpreter or translation you needed - you have several options.
- Talk with your principal or a school employee you are comfortable with. A discussion with your school principal is often the best first step to address your concerns. Explain what happened, and let the principal know what they can do to help resolve the problem.
- Talk with your school district. You can also contact the school district to share your concerns. You can call the civil right coordinator or the superintendent at the district office.
- Ask for help resolving your concerns. You can also contact these agencies for more information about your rights or for assistance to resolve your concerns: Equity and Civil Right Office, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 360-725-6162 | www.k12.wa.us or Office of the Education Ombuds, 1-866-297-2597 | oes.wa.gov
- You can file a complaint. To file a complaint, explain what happened in writing - in any language - and send it to the district by mail, email, or hand delivery. Make sure to keep a copy for your records.
Within 30 calendar days, the district will investigate your complaint and respond to you in writing. More information about your complaint options are online here: www.k12.wa.us/Equity/Complaints.aspx.
Please know that the school may not retaliate against you or your child for sharing concerns or filing a complaint.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Equity and Civil Rights