SPECIAL EDUCATION SERIES:
Recording IEP Meetings
February 11, 2021
We hear it regularly from parents: ”That meeting was so much to process, and I just can’t remember everything we talked about.” IEP meetings can be a lot of information to process all while trying to be the best parent for your child. Every child is different, and every IEP meeting is different.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t miss any details and that you have all the information you need for the future is to record IEP meetings. If you have ever thought about recording your child’s individualized education program (IEP) meetings, there are a few things you need to know before you do so. Recording your child’s IEP meeting is never a bad idea as long as you follow all policies and procedures related to the recording.
Federal law does not prohibit either a parent or a school official from recording IEP meetings. However, federal privacy law does require that you inform the IEP team that you intend to record the meeting. If you record the meeting without making everyone involved aware, you are likely violating federal law.
Additionally, school districts may have their own rules in regard to notice of recording meetings. For example, many districts require you to give advance notice of at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled meeting. Protocols and procedures of each district differ, so you should contact your school to request information on their procedures. Once you are aware of the procedures, you must adhere to them exactly to prevent yourself from violating any state or federal laws.
When notifying your school district of your intent to record the meeting, you can use a simple email like the following:
Dear (School District),
Please let this email confirm that I plan to record the IEP meeting that is set for this week. As you are aware, recording IEP meetings is permitted by law and should not affect the date and time of the meeting which is set to take place. I have found recording these meetings assists me as I make decisions for my child. As the meeting coordinator, please ensure that all participants receive prior notice of this intent to record. Failure on your part to notify all participants of the recording shall not result in a delay of this meeting.
Your email doesn’t have to be exactly the same as the one above, but you must be sure your email clearly indicates your desire to record the meeting and puts the school district on notice of your intent to do so. Send the email no later than 24 hours before the meeting is set to begin.
Another important thing to note is that if the school district chooses to record your child’s IEP meeting, the recording then becomes part of the student’s education record and is available to parents through a written request.
Before you record your child’s IEP meeting, you may want to consider what effect the recording device may have on the meeting. On one hand, it may inspire the participants to be very professional and forthcoming with information; however, on the other hand, it may chill the room, making teachers and administrators afraid to say what they really think for fear the recording will come back to haunt them. There are pros and cons to recording the meeting. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.
For more information on recording your child’s IEP meeting and applicable rules and regulations, contact Gay Jones & Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org. GJK is experienced in special education law and works with clients to navigate its unique challenges.