A review by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights will result in more services for non-English-speaking parents and students in the Dearborn Public Schools, the district said this week.
A complaint issued from a Dearborn school led to a full review of the district.
The review, released Thursday, found that the district was not meeting the needs of parents and students whose primary language is not English, as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. This includes access to important school documents, as well as students’ access to activities and services.
DPS will be required to submit a written plan to the Office of Civil Rights by June 29 to “provide language assistance to limited English proficient parents/guardians that ensures that they have meaningful access to the district’s program’s and activities,” according to the agreement.
Specifically, the plan will address the needs of the district’s large Arabic-speaking population.
DPS Supt. Brian Whiston said in a statement that the district is “committed to meeting the needs of all students and parents.”
The district’s statement on the issue noted that DPS is already providing many services to students and parents with limited English proficiency, including parent liaisons and staff members who speak Arabic, as well as newsletters, legal notices and other documents translated into Arabic.
The new plan will expound upon that, including translation of more documents, such as report cards. Additionally, the district said they will hire someone to coordinate translation efforts to ensure that the services are easily accessible and readily available.
Any additional cost related to these federally mandated requirements will be covered by the district’s general fund.
“We understand that many parents and students speak different languages and, as we have done in the past, we will continue the commitment to meeting their needs so their children can be successful students,” Whiston said.
The district will also be required to submit documentation in June of 2013 demonstrating the results of the implementation of the plan during the 2012-13 school year.
The full agreement between DPS and the OCR is available on the district’s website at http://dearbornschools.org.