Washington, DC - The Justice Department announced Thursday a settlement agreement with the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to resolve the department’s investigation into the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s (District) programs for its English learner students. The department’s investigation found system-wide failures to provide these students with the instruction and support they need to learn English and fully participate in school. The department conducted its investigation under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.
“Students and parents who are not fluent in English have a right to access all of their school’s education programs and activities — and access starts with meaningful communication and appropriate instruction by school districts,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department recognizes that today’s English learner students are tomorrow’s bilingual graduates. These students will bring essential and diverse language skills into our workforce and communities. We are encouraged that the Rowan-Salisbury School System has committed to the goals of equity and fairness at the heart of this agreement and we will continue to fight to ensure that all students enjoy access to educational opportunity regardless of background.”
Under the settlement agreement, the District will increase language instruction for all English learner students, including those with disabilities, so they can become fluent in English. The District will also train its teachers and administrators on how to support English learner students in academic subjects such as math, science and social studies. The District will continue to improve its translation and interpretation services for Limited English Proficient parents so all parents can fully participate in their children’s education. The Justice Department will monitor the district’s implementation of the settlement agreement over the course of the next three full school years.