According to Kathy Poulos-Minott, coordinator of the National LEP Advocacy Task Force, "Paradise Valley Unified School District routinely fails to provide qualified interpretation and translation services to students and families with limited English.
"We like to believe ... when the school system tells us that they have all of the policies and procedures in place," said Kathy Poulos-Minott, task force coordinator.
The sting began in January 2001, when Poulos-Minott
came to Tucson for one of the task force's "site visits.
A Portland, Maine, resident, she
vacation here and volunteered at Jewish Family Services.
"Jewish Family Services thoroughly checked my references and was aware of my work as an advocate," Poulos-Minott said.
"If I had told them that I might potentially file complaints ... they probably would not have permitted me to volunteer."
Through the agency, she
and others met Hamid's family, one of about 1,000 Iranian families in the Tucson area.
father remains in Iran after recently being released from prison, where he
was serving time for his
political beliefs and actions, Poulos-Minott
The Tucson Citizen
agreed not to publish Hamid's real name because his
family is worried about retaliation.
helped to registered Hamid at Catalina High
, 3645 E. Pima St., school officials asked her
to bring an interpreter.
agreed but insisted the school do so in the future.
It never did.
son at another TUSD school, Robins Elementary
, 3939 N. Magnetite Lane.
Seeing forms and paperwork there written only in English, she
began to believe the problem was "systemic."
highlighted both situations, including general interpretation and translation failures by Catalina High's Family Resource and Wellness Center
, in the complaint she
filed a year ago with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education
"There's never been an agreement in a school before that specifically addresses the provision of interpretation and translations in detail," Poulos-Minott