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RIGHTS OF ENGLISH LEARNER STUDENTS AND PARENTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE PANDEMIC AND BEYOND

April 29, 2021

Education Law Center has released a new fact sheet and flyer in English and other major languages about the rights of New Jersey English Learner (EL) students and Limited English Proficient (LEP) parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. These materials summarize existing state and federal laws and regulations and the latest government guidance.

Because New Jersey’s EL population is so diverse, the flyer has been translated into additional major language groups. All flyers are available on the ELC website.

The fact sheet provides essential information to help parents, guardians, caregivers, advocates, and educators understand the educational rights of EL students and LEP parents and the impact of remote learning on services for EL students. The core rights of EL students and LEP parents have not changed during the pandemic.

In the flyer, ELC lists six key takeaways for parents and other caregivers:

  1. Your child has the right to be screened and tested for access to English Learner services, even during the pandemic.
  2. You have the right to receive communications from your child’s school in a language you can understand.
  3. Your child has the right to instruction from teachers and aides that helps them learn English and follow their other classes, even during the pandemic and even when classes are online only.
  4. When schools begin to reopen, as an English Learner, your child should be prioritized for in-person classes.
  5. Your student has rights when it comes to staying in their English Learner program. A school may not ask your child to leave the program unless they demonstrate sufficient English skills, or you decline English Learner services.
  6. If your child has disabilities, they have the right to be evaluated and receive special education services or accommodations.

If a school is not providing these services, parents should contact their district’s English as a Second Language (ESL) or bilingual education administrators for assistance, or their school district’s special education office, child study team, or case manager for assistance related to students with disabilities.

Parents who are seeking legal assistance related to these issues or have questions concerning this information should contact Education Law Center at 973-624-1815, ext. 30. The call is entirely confidential, and our advice is free of charge.

This fact sheet and flyer join a series of ELC “Know Your Rights” guides published to provide comprehensive information and tools for advocates to use in efforts to safeguard and promote the education rights of public school students.

ELC’s Advocacy Guide Series also includes: COVID-19 and Students with Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions, Understanding Public School Residency Requirements: A Guide for Advocates, The Right to Special Education, Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities, Student Discipline Rights and Procedures, Education Rights of Homeless Students, Education Rights of Children in Foster Care, and Children’s Rights in New Jersey’s State-Funded Preschool Program.

The fact sheet, flyer, and other publications in ELC’s Advocacy Guide Series can be accessed on ELC’s website, or a printed copy may be obtained by contacting Diane Gayoso at dgayoso@edlawcenter.org or 973-624-1815, ext. 10.



Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
skrengel@edlawcenter.org
973-624-1815, x 24