Parents now have expanded access to interpreters in school meetings under Villa law

WEST CHICAGO – Parents who are deaf or have limited English proficiency now have expanded access to interpreters in school meetings thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa.

“Parents who don’t speak English or have another communication barrier still have every right to be involved in decisions regarding their child’s education,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “By expanding the availability of interpreters in situations where those decisions are being made, we ensure that all parents feel comfortable and able to participate.”

An initiative of the Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois, House Bill 5214 expands the current Identification, Evaluation and Placement portion of the School Code to include additional instances that interpreter services may be necessary. The law ensures that parents are made aware of decisions regarding the identification, evaluation or educational placement of their children, with the ability to present any complaints they may have, and ensures that interpreters are made available at no cost for IEP meetings, multidisciplinary conferences, 504 meetings, mediation sessions, and due process hearings.

“It comes down to an issue of equity and accessibility when communication barriers keep parents from participating in these vital discussions regarding their own children,” said Villa. “I’m pleased to see more barriers being broken down for families across Illinois.”

The legislation was recently signed and goes into effect immediately.