Skip to Content

Limited English Proficient (LEP)

Limited English Proficient (LEP) 2024-03-15T10:35:10-06:00

It is the policy of New Mexico Education Department to provide timely meaningful access for Limited English Proficient (LEP) persons to all agency programs, activities and services, free of charge.

Notice of Rights:

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal civil rights law that provides protections against discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance. Program Recipients that receive Federal funds cannot distinguish among individuals on the basis of race, color or national origin, either directly or indirectly, in the types, quantity, quality or timeliness of program services, aids or benefits that they provide or the manner in which they provide them. This prohibition applies to intentional discrimination as well as to procedures, criteria or methods of administration that appear neutral but have a discriminatory effect on individuals because of their race, color, or national origin. Executive Order 13166 “Improving Access to Services with persons with Limited English Proficiency” was issued and directed that ersons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) must be afforded a meaningful opportunity to participate in programs that receive Federal funds. Policies and practices may not deny or have the effect of denying persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) equal access to Federally-funded programs for which such persons qualify.

Program Recipients

Program Recipients includes any state or local government agency and institution that receives Federal funds or assistance. Programs Recipients covered by Title VI include but not limited to: services provided or operated by state education agencies, including public education (schools), school food authorities (SFAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs).

Limited English Proficient Person(s)

A person who does not speak English as their primary language and has a limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English can be limited English Proficient or “LEP.” These individuals may be entitled to language assistance concerning a particular type of service, benefit, or encounter.

What are the types of language assistance services?

There are two primary types of language assistance services: oral and written.

Oral language assistance service may come in the form of “in-language” communication (a demonstrably qualified bilingual staff member communicating directly in an LEP person’s language) or interpreting. Interpretation can take place in-person, through a telephonic interpreter, or via internet or video interpreting. An interpreter is a person who renders a message spoken in one language into one or more languages. An interpreter must be competent and have knowledge in both languages of the relevant terms or concepts particular to the program or activity and the dialect and terminology used by the LEP individual.

Written language assistance is the replacement of written text from one language into another for vital documents. Vital written documents include, but are not limited to, consent and complaint forms; intake and application forms with the potential for important consequences; written notices of rights; notices of denials, losses, or decreases in benefits or services; notice of disciplinary action; signs; and notices advising LEP individuals of free language assistance services. It the policy of New Mexico Education Department to proactively translate vital written documents into the frequently encountered languages of LEP groups eligible to be served or likely to be affected by New Mexico Education Department.

Examples of Language Assistance Services

  • Oral interpretation services
  • Bilingual staff
  • Websites: Select between different languages
  • Written language services
  • Community volunteers

Is there a surcharge associated with language assistance services?

No. A public entity cannot make an person with LEP pay for language assistance services. New Mexico Public Education will make all reasonable steps to ensure that persons with LEP have meaningful access and an equal opportunity to participate in our services, activities, programs and other benefits.

Request for Language Assistance Services

Assistance or other aids and services are available upon request. Please call: 505-827-5800.


Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. Courts have interpreted the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of national origin to include discrimination of persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). If you believe that you or an individual that you or your organization represents has been excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination on the basis of limited English proficiency, then you may contact the Federal Coordination and Compliance Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice about filing a complaint. Below is the contact information, telephone numbers, complaint form, and website describing the complaint process:

Federal Coordination and Compliance Section – 4CON
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

(888) 848-5306 – English and Spanish (ingles y español)
(202) 307-2222 (voice)
(202) 307-2678 (TDD)

Page last updated March 15, 2024