Can the school do this???

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by skm2, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. skm2

    skm2 New Member

    Can someone tell me what they think about this??

    I just received a letter from the superintendent of the school stating we cannot bring someone to our IEP meeting to take notes for me.

    THis was my exact request in writing: "I am requesting permission to either audiotape or have someone (someone I would bring to the IEP) take minutes of our IEP meeting. My request is just to help me recall who said what after the meeting. I find these meetings can be overwhelming -- sometimes leaving and not being able to recall if everything was covered and addressed."

    This is the Superintendents exact written response: "Your request to have a third party take minutes/notes of your son's IEP meeting is denied for the reason that the signed IEP is the legal written record of the IEP meeting. Therefore, it is not necessary, nor expected, that a separate documentation of the meeting be maintained"
    Can he really deny this? If I bring a lawyer, can the lawyer take notes??????

    Some Background: Our last IEP meeting (In May 2006)was overwhelming with many denials to requests for simple interventions --always the denials came from the principal. (ie: can my son chew gum during tests so that he will not bite his arm and leave marks --this was denied) (My son has high functioning autism) Several days after the meeting my Mother (who had been in excellent health) passed away suddenly. Needless to say I could not recall much of what was said in the meeting. I had requested that I have permission to bring someone (a friend) to the IEP meeting to take notes so I could concentrate on the details of the meeting. This request was denied by the superintendent verbally and then I emailed him asking him to put it in writing. I received his above written denial today.
    Any Ideas on how to respond to this denial???

    Edited by skm2 (10/19/06 06:42 PM)
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    UNLESS there has been a change in 2004 --and I dont' think there has been, parents can bring anyone with PARTICULAR knowledge of their child to an IEP meeting. You have to provide notice but nothing more.

    You should not have specified the person's role in your letter. Of course an att'y would takes notes; so would an advocate. Your best companion would be knowledgeable in Special Education law. If this is not possible, then anyone is better tahn going alone. If you have a relative that can go, the "particular knowldge" will not be disputed.

    In many jurisdictions, you do not have the right to tape without permission of all parties. Most school district will not give permission. I have gone to IEP meetings with very little "particular" information about a child--at least in terms of history--and never been challenged by a school district and I am not an attorney.

    by the way, Special Education regs PREFERS that neither school district nor parents bring attorneys to IEP meetings--it destroys the cooperative atmosphere (!??!) However, it is a preference, and attorney for either side cannot be barrred.

  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Invite whoever you like or take a tape recorder.

    Sec. 300.321 IEP Team.

    (a) General. The public agency must ensure that the IEP Team for each child with a disability includes--
    (6) At the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate;

    Alsol, see How and Why to Tape Record Meetings @ .
  4. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    It is important to find out if taping is legal. In some states it is a punishable crime to tape another person without their permission.
    I certainly do encourage taping, tho. Wow, if we had been able to secure permission to tape our IEP meetings, it might have made a HUGE difference here.

    When we did discuss reasons for certain accomodations etc, it would have been on the tape and the district would not have gotten away with saying we did not clarify things. (when we DID)
    Remember that what gets written into an IEP needs to be written VERY clearly and specifically, and if you need more room, get more paper to fit things, becuz later how things get written can affect the interpretation.

    (I DO hope you do get to tape record the meeting)
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator


    I didn't imply to use a tape recorder without anyone's knowledge. I meant to put the recorder right in the middle of the table so that all individuals are picked up. The link explains.
  6. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    Yeah, I read the link you gave. I did not mean to imply that you implied anything. My reply was not based on your post at all, it was just a fact to toss out there.
  7. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    This article doesn't claim that taping is legal or that school districts must allow it. It actually describes an intimidation technique they use to record meetings. I have been to meetings where the school district participants refused to continue the meeting if we continued to tape. And they were within their legal rights to do so.

    IDEA does not say that schools must include a note taker for the parent. Any outsiders must have "knowledge" about the child which is relevant to the meeting. Unless the parent has a disability of some sort that requires a notetaker, there are no provisions in IDEA to require schools to include a notetaker in the meeting.
  8. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I believe what Sara just said is what I said in the original post.

    All you need is,root,regs,300,D,300%2E321,

    Sec. 300.321 IEP Team.

    (a) General. The public agency must ensure that the IEP Team for each child with a disability includes--
    (6) At the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate;

    I said "specific" or "particular" knowledge--the law actually does not even narrow it that far. How I get my knowldge is read the kid's file? Another way would be to be his aunt or neighbor. A third way would be to discuss the child's problems with a good listener. The school district has no basis in law to challenge the person's knowledge of the child. It is only in court that you have to be qualified as an expert witness (if you are one.)

    The school district does not have to PROVIDE a note taker but I do not see how they can prevent a person present from taking notes.

    I would later use the notes to write a "memo of understanding" stating that it is to become part of the child's record. This should only be used for discussions that do not get written into the IEP. Anything "agreed to" must be in the IEP or it never happened.

    So, the problem originates in giving the person with knowledge a role as "note taker" in writing to the school district. What this would inspire me to do is bring three people with "knowldge" and have them all take notes on different people. There is nothing the school district can do about this except disbancd the meeting. If this happens, file a complaint but DO NOT go on without a person with you. in my opinion a school district that would disband a meeting over this is up to no good anyway.

    I cannot OVER stress how easy it is to have KNOWLEDGE of the child. Knowledge of the law takes a bit longer but you are not going to say this person is your advocate.

  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Some school districts will take whatever liberties they can get away with. IDEA 2004 does not give school districts the authority to approve or disapprove of individuals invited to the IEP meeting by the parent -- nor did former statute the best that I can tell.

    28. Do parents and public agencies have the option of inviting any individual of their choice be participants on their child’s IEP team?

    The IEP team may, at the discretion of the parent or the agency, include ``other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child * * *’’ (Sec. 300.344(a)(6), italics added). Under Sec. 300.344(a)(6), these individuals are members of the IEP team. This is a change from prior law, which provided, without qualification, that parents or agencies could have other individuals as members of the IEP team at the discretion of the parents or agency.

    Under Sec. 300.344(c), the determination as to whether an individual has knowledge or special expertise, within the meaning of Sec. 300.344(a)(6), shall be made by the parent or public agency who has invited the individual to be a member of the IEP team. emphasis added

    Part B does not provide for including individuals such as representatives of teacher organizations as part of an IEP team, unless they are included because of knowledge or special expertise regarding the child. (Because a representative of a teacher organization would generally be concerned with the interests of the teacher rather than the interests of the child, and generally would not possess knowledge or expertise regarding the child, it generally would be inappropriate for such an official to be a member of the IEP team or to otherwise participate in an IEP meeting.)

    IDEA 2004 incorporates this same citation in Sec. 300.321(c): Determination of knowledge and special expertise. The determination of the knowledge or special expertise of any individual described in paragraph (a)(6) of this section must be made by the party (parents or public agency) who invited the individual to be a member of the IEP Team.

    I agree. If the parent so deems the person they invite to the meeting, that's the way it is.
  10. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Well, I will tell you a few years ago after feeling completely railroaded by the school my son was in, a friend told me GET AN ADVOCATE now. She gave me the name and number of a group in our state called Families Helping Families. I never asked permission to bring my advocate, she just came with me. She knows the laws, and will make excellent suggestions at IEP meetings. She also taught me to stop the meeting and write down what was being said. I see you live in PA, but my advocate has always told me that if we have to move to another state, to get in touch with her and she will give me advocate resources for that state. By the way, her services are completely 100% free.

    If you would like to contact them and ask for a group near you in PA.
    Good luck hon. And I think you are 100% right to want to bring anyone you want to the IEP or other meetings.