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A letter from the US Department of Justice

"School districts may not recommend that parents decline all or some services within an EL program for any reason, including facilitating scheduling of special education services or other scheduling reasons.
A parent’s decision to opt out of an EL program or particular EL services must be knowing and voluntary. Thus, school districts must provide guidance in a language parents can understand to ensure that parents understand their child’s rights, the range of EL services that their child could receive, and the benefits of such services before voluntarily waiving them."

English Learners and Newcomers

Office for Civil Rights

Office for Civil Rights - Title VI states that "No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."May 25th MemorandumAlthough the May 25th Memorandum required school districts to take affirmative steps, it did not prescribe the content of these steps. However, the Memorandum explained that Title VI is violated if:


  • Students are excluded from effective participation in school because of the inability to speak and understand the language of instruction;
  • National origin minority students who are limited English proficient are mis-assigned to classes for the mentally retarded on the basis of criteria which essentially measure or evaluate English language skills;
  • Programs for students whose English is less than proficient are not designed to teach them English as soon as possible, or operate as a dead-end track; or
  • Parents whose English is limited are not adequately notified of school activities which are called to the attention of other parents.