In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice released several documents clarifying schools' Civil Rights obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents. Among these documents is an FAQ Fact Sheet that asks and answers the following question:
Q: May my child’s school ask my child, other students, or untrained school staff to translate or interpret for me?
A: 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.
The present workshop is designed to provide beginner-level training for school staff who have the linguistic skills to speak English and at least one other language fluently so they may learn the basics of appropriate, professional interpretation. The content of this training is directed toward staff that will interpret during special education meetings such as IEP meetings; however, the principles of interpretation presented here can benefit school-based staff in interpretation for other purposes, as well.