A school system in Texas is under fire for lack of Spanish translation services to parents of children in their classes. While a Spanish translation option for parents might not seem like an important part of every school, it certainly is in a state like Texas where many families have legally immigrated from Mexico and built their homes in the state.
Jefferson Parish Public Schools have failed to provide translators for parents who speak little to no English, and those parents have filed a federal civil rights complaint.
School Staff Rude to Spanish-speaking Parents
When the the lack of Spanish translation was raised by Spanish-speaking parents who could not receive important information about their children at school, the Equal Rights Center in Washington D.C. took action and conducted a four-week study. In the study, people posing as parents called the school and started asking question in Spanish.
Instead of helping or transferring them to a Spanish translator, the school staff scoffed and groaned before finally hanging up. Such behavior is unacceptable for a school system where the student body is comprised of students who come from fifty different countries.
Many parents said they have stopped attending parent-teacher conferences because no one makes the effort to help them understand important information about their child’s performance and behavior.
School Claims No Need for Spanish Translation
The school system admittedly has a lack of Spanish translation services to Spanish-speaking parents. However, the staff claims that they still provide some accommodations. There is a Spanish version of the policies and procedures manual, and certain members of the staff who speak Spanish are available if any translation issues arise.
These efforts are not enough according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires schools to provide all information in a language that parents understand, not just some.
Parental involvement is an important part of education in the United States. If parents don’t know what their children are struggling with, they won’t be able to help them by providing extra help at home. The United States is a melting pot of different cultures and languages, and many families speak Spanish as their first language.
English to Spanish Translations
School systems should accommodate Spanish-speaking parents with English to Spanish translation to improve the success of their students and foster a diverse environment. Discriminating against parents who don’t speak English sets a bad example for our future generation and prevents many kids from getting a proper education.