SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) advanced a measure to expand the availability of interpreters to parents who are deaf or have limited English proficiency.
“Parents have a right to know what kinds of decisions are being made regarding their children’s education, and more importantly, be able to actively engage in these discussions and present any questions or complaints and they should be involved in discussions where these decisions are being made,” Villa said. “It’s an issue of accessibility and equity when parents who face communication barriers are unable to participate.”
Current law states that interpreters must be made available to parents during an Individualized Education Program meeting only. Villa’s measure would provide parents who struggle with a language barrier access to an interpreter for meetings that include multidisciplinary conferences, 504 meetings, a mediation session, or a due process hearing.
This legislation will ensure that non-English speaking parents are not left feeling confused or misguided regarding the important outcome of their child’s education.
“Parents who do not speak English should not be barred from the discussion regarding their child’s education,” Villa said. “With this bill, we will now be able to accommodate non-English speaking families.”
The legislation passed out of the Senate Tuesday and now awaits further action from the governor.