IEP meetings and other school meetings

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Jules71, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Does anyone know if the law states anything about it being required to be present (in person) for IEP and other school meetings?

    I have sat at their conference table many times over the past 4 years and we are still having the same issues we always have.

    I emailed all parties involved at my son's school and expressed my concerns (3 of them) and possible solutions. I told them at this time I am unable to meet with them in person. I am not going to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. They insist on meeting. I will not meet. I want everything we do in writing so I can hold them accountable by going to the district with documentation if I have to.

    I just need to know if we are required by law to attend meetings in person, or if we can insist we use this method of written correspondence.

  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I believe they can meet without you but they have to make every attempt/accomodation they can to allow you to be there. I may be wrong, maybe someone knows better than I do. As for everything in writing, have you considered recording the meetings? You have the right to record as long as you do it openly. They cannot refuse it. That is just as good, if not better, than having everything in writing.

    When it got to that point with the school district, I changed schools because it was the definition of insanity. After 4 years, they still hadn't realized what they insisted on doing wasn't working and actually ended up making things a LOT worse.


    P.S. GET AN ADVOCATE. It sounds like you desperately need one and now.
    Lasted edited by : Sep 21, 2011
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    Doing things in writing is certainly helpful, but the MEETING is where the final decisions are made. If you are not there, you cannot object to what is going in or being left out of the IEP. They could probably accommodate you via phone or video conference.

    I definitely say get and advocate, but short of that, you are NOT required to sign off on the IEP if it is not to your liking. If they pressure you to saying that things can still be added, the very next day, request another IEP meeting. Keep requesting them until the IEP is satisfactory.
  4. seriously

    seriously New Member

    It sounds like you need an advocate to help you by attending the meetings with you.

    The alternative is to request a mediation. If possible without filing a due process hearing.

    As for getting it in writing. The IEP document should contain all the "evidence" you need of the school's agreements and a record of the way the meetings went including a record of significant disagreements should be contained in a narrative at the end. different places call this different things but there should be something like that included in the IEP document.

    If you do not agree to the IEP as proposed then you should either be signing it with a notation that you do not agree with xyz part, or refuse xyz service or that you refuse to consent to the IEP.

    It is not wise to refuse to go to the meeting in my opinion. The district has the legal right to go ahead and do an IEP if you don't cooperate with agreeing to meet. They must do their best to accommodate your schedule but there are specific provisions of the law that let them go ahead even when a parent refuses to show up.

    And there is only limited provisions for doing an IEP meeting without an actual meeting. It is pretty much reserved for meetings where only minor changes, agreed to by all parties, are being made. For example a small modification of the goals.

    I suggest you visit the Wright's Law website and read through the information there about IEP's and the specific areas that you are in disagreement with the district about.

    And you should be recording the meetings if possible, although it can increase the adversarial air of the meeting. But if you think you will be going to due process and you don't have an advocate attending with you then I think you should do that. You must give the district at least 24 hours advance written notice of your intent to record the meeting.

    Feel free to post more about the kinds of disagreements you are having and what you would like the district to do that it is not doing and we'll try to give you more advice on those areas. You can also search the archives for info about those things to save folks sharing things with you that have already been addressed a lot in previous posts.

    Good luck,
  5. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thanks everyone. A couple things - I do NOT want to meet with them. It is true insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over (meeting with them) and expect different results. I feel like it is me, on their turf, up against all their staff, sitting around a table, with them pushing back at me. I am not going to do it anymore if I don't have to. It causes me waaaaaay to much anxiety and I just plain and simple have never accomplished anything meeting with them. It's been 4 years and I am SERIOUSLY considering changing schools. I just don't really know how to go about it. (Same district, different district, do I have to detail everything we have been through, etc?)

    I emailed his two teachers and Special Education teacher with a few issues and some suggestions for how they can be resolved. I asked for them to get back to me by the end of this week. I explained I would not be able to meet in person with them and that I am choosing to correspond with them via email. They wrote back and insisted we meet. I wrote back and explained in detail why I will not meet at this time and that the issues still need to be resolved.

    I am just curious if they can require me to meet with them - or if they still need to address my concerns.

    One request is for reduced homework and I went to great lengths to explain why we need that. Another request is for me to know EXACTLY what the homework assignment is - we dealt with this ALL YEAR last year. Another is to explain how punitive measures will not do one thing to help difficult child be successful and how they need to stop treating difficult child and his disorder (ADHD) like he is just unmotivated and defiant. I explained the the meltdowns in the evenings around homework and how his medication has worn off and he cannot concentrate, etc and their reply was he would miss recess. Well I explained to them how withholding recess from a child with ADHD is disastrous, not to mention they would be punishing him for his inability to concentrate due to his disorder. Not cool in my opinion.

    Also - we have never been asked to sign an IEP. I read a lot about making sure not to sign if you disagree. Our district does not ask for a signature other than the page stating who was in attendance at the meeting.

    Any additional info would be very helpful!
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    If you do not show up for the IEP mtg, they can do whatever they want, *without* your input, and voila... it's an IEP.

    I've lived in WA, and no, they don't have you sign the IEP. I believe it's assumed that the finished document is approved since it's ... well, finished. ;) It's *really* important for you to go to the mtg and document, document, document. Most of the IEP mtgs I ever attended had a separate sheet for comments/discussion - of course, written by an school district employee, but still there was documentation. If you don't get that, or if you do not feel it appropriately reflects discussion during IEP mtg, you should send a certified letter stating your understanding of discussion, as well as the fact that you don't agree with IEP due to A, B, C, as you stated during the IEP mtg. Request that a copy of your cert. letter be filed in child's permanent school record. Request yet another IEP mtg ... and keep on requesting until they get it right.

    I know it's utterly exhausting, demoralizing, frustrating, and nauseating to have to keep beating your head against an inflexible/uneducated/careless IEP team, but the downside of quitting now is that you're going to end up with whatever they decide. If you're not there... your opinion no longer counts.
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    1. Washington is an all-party consent state. You cannot tape the meeting without everyone's consent.

    2. Your signature is not required for the IEP to go into effect.

    3. You will lose all input into the IEP if you do not attend the meeting.

    It doesn't sound like they are denying what is happening in the IEP meeting but more that they are not agreeing to anything.

    When it got this bad with our school district, I took over running the meeting. I would list of the "concerns that have brought us here today" making sure to include all of the concerns that school staff mentioned as well as mine. I'd ask if there was anything else that should be on the list. Then I'd try and get everyone to brainstorm ideas on how to solve 1 (or one group if there were similar issues) at a time.

    After 55 minutes, I would point out that we were almost out of time and summerize what we had agreed on. I would either put it in writing or proofread what the 'official notetaker' had written. I would state that we could continue to brainstorm ideas via email and thank them for their time.

    Try and schedule your meeting 1 hour before school starts or after school is over, so that they are motivated to keep it short as well.
  8. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    It is utterly exhausting slsh - thanks for your advice!

    JJJ - I need you at my meetings! When I was a project manager I was able to do what you describe - but when I am emotionally involved I just don't seem to be able to do it.
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It took me a long time and a lot of anger to get to the point of being able to do that; by the time I could keep my emotions under enough control I had been through over 20 IEP meetings for my kids. (I would usually have 5-6/year.)