Audio Tape Recording IEP Meetings--request denied

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by jcox, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. jcox

    jcox New Member


    Is it legal for them to deny my request? If I request a school policy which denies tape recoring do they have to show me one? I read that they can not allow one family to tape record, but deny another families request. How can I be sure that is not happening?
  2. jcox

    jcox New Member

    I had sent a letter of intent to audio tape record all futue IEP meetings at my DS's school. This is the letter the school district sent back to me:

    "Please accept this letter of confirmation that I have received your typewritten correspondence
    indicating your intent to "tape record" all future IEP meetings and other meetings regarding the
    educational placement of your son, C. Please be advised that IDEA Part B (§§300.560-300.575)
    does not address the use of audio or video recording devices at IEP meetings, and no other Federal statute either authorizes or prohibits the recording of an IEP meeting by either a parent or a school official.

    Part 2 of this letter is following... told me too many words for one post.
  3. jcox

    jcox New Member

    2nd part of letter:

    "The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the school district's denial of your request to "tape
    record" any and all meetings that take place on our campus or that involve ________________
    School District Personnel who are performing duties associated with their professional positions. Please
    note that our district is commitypical teened to making any reasonable accommodation for you to fully understand
    information that is presented at any meeting heLearning Disability (LD) on C's behalf. ShouLearning Disability (LD) you feel that you need a
    translator, amplification device, or any other accommodation please do nOccupational Therapist (OT) hesitate to call my office".
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2009
  4. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    In my state, you are allowed to record a conversation as long as one party to it is aware of it. Ever since we got screwed over at an IEP when almost former difficult child was in grade 2, we have brought in a teeny recorder which is kept in either my husband;s shirt pocket or an outside section of my handbag. We do not disclose that we are taping. I always take copious notes so that if I have to use an actual quote, I can claim it was from my notes. I have not had to use a recording I have taken yet.

    My suggestion is that you do the same thing.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The laws vary from state to state regarding tape recordings. In most states if ONE party is aware of the recording (that would be you) then it is legal.

    Follow svengandhi's advice. heck, I have been known to stick a memory chip into my blackberry and just put it on the table. If they ask why I tell them it is my watch and I need to take a medication at a certain time.

    And, like my Daddy used to regret telling me, it is always easier to beg forgiveness then to ask permission.
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I used to have a link that addressed this issue

    OSEP allows for recording when the parent needs it to help understand the proceedings.

    A google search for something like OSEP IDEA tape record IEP meetings may prove fruitful also.
  7. Superpsy

    Superpsy New Member

    sorry...MA doesn't allow taping unless all parties are in the know...

  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Wouldn't IDEA, since it is a federal thing, override the MA laws?
  9. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    A federal law would only pre-empt a state law if the federal law had a similar provision. As far as I know, IDEA doesn't address taping. Nonetheless, even in Mass., I would do it; as long as you don't use it, what's the harm?
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would still have a recorder. It may not be legal but it still might be useful.

    I wonder WHY school districts are so concerned about tape recording meetings? We got a spiel about the tape being listened to by "just anyone" and thus violating the student's right to privacy.

    I think it is because the school intends to agree to something and go back on it or to say something in blatant violation and they want to be able to CYP (Cover Your Patootie).

    No other explanation makes sense to me. It really almost seems like a statement of intent to lie or promise something they then will refuse to fulfill.

    If yo u were not planning on being deceitful or shady then why would a tape recording be a problem???
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I recommend that nothing be done that is against the law. There are ways around this.

    Here you go:
    Taping Your Team Meeting

    1. Massachusetts Special Education, state law or regulations, does not address recording meeting. There aren't many state that has enacted legislation regarding taping of Team meetings. (The only states we aware of are New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon.)

    2. There are several references under IDEA (Federal law), one is in IDEA 97, Appendix A, (Appendix A, is a user friendly Q&A of the Federal Register. )
    Question/answers # 21, p. 12477:
    "May IEP meetings be audio or videotape recorded?"

    "IDEA (Part B), does not address the use of audio or video recording devices at IEP meetings, and no other Federal statute either authorizes or prohibits the recording of an IEP meeting by either a parent or a school official. Therefore, an SEA or public agency has the OPTION to require, prohibit, limit, or otherwise regulate the use of recording devices at IEP meetings. If a public agency has a policy that prohibits or limits the use of recording devices at IEP meetings, that policy must provide for exceptions if they are necessary to ensure that the parent understands the IEP or the IEP process or to implement other parental rights guaranteed under Part B. An SEA or school district that adopts a rule regulating the tape recording of IEP meetings also should ensure that it is uniformly applied.
    Any recording of an IEP meeting that is maintained by the public agency is an "education record," within the meaning of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"; 20 U.S.C. 1232g), and would, therefore, be subject to the confidentiality requirements of the regulations under both FERPA (34 CFR Part 99) and Part B (§§300.560-300.575).
    Parents wishing to use audio or video recording devices at IEP meetings should consult State or local policies for further guidance."
    3. IDEA (Federal law) does dictate that the committee must make "reasonable accommodations" to assist the parent/advocate in the development of your child's IEP. If you are denied the "privilege" of recording the meeting, you would remind them of your individual needs and their obligation to accommodate your individual needs.
    4. It is recommend that you call your Team liaison a few days before your Team meeting and let them know you plan to tape the meeting. Be prepared to give your reason. Federal law states that "the purpose of the Team meeting is to develop, review, and revising the IEP of a child with a disability." 34 CFR 303.343 (a).

    In our state regulation, it says: "Team shall mean a group of persons, meeting participate requirements of federal special education law as provided at 34 CFR 300.344 and 300.552, who, together, discuss evaluation results, determine eligibility, develop or modify an IEP or determine placement." 603 CMR 28.02 (22)
    Therefore, the question to the team members "objecting" might be: "Can you tell me how NOT taping this meeting will help ensure that IEP be developed as we decide at this meeting?"
    5. Check your school policy regarding the taping of meetings. If you have a disability, you can explain to the Team how your disability effects you in the meeting. One example would be if you have trouble recalling all of the points of that were discussed, without taping the meeting. Having a note from your doctor regarding your disability would be strong documentation to that fact (possible civil right violation, if denied).

    6. Come to your Team meetings with your "Parent draft of the IEP" already written (with the important information you think should be documented in the IEP.) It's recommend to distribute it to all the members before the meeting and use it as the basis for discussion. It is amazing how much can be accomplished in a Team meeting when both the parents and school personal come in with draft of IEP.

    7. You can bring two tape recorders with you to the meeting, (one for you and one for them.) This eliminates the need for them going to try and find one and wasting valuable meeting time.

    8. Don’t be intimidated, if the school personal tell you that "it is not necessary". You can ask "Not necessary for who?". How can it hurt to have a voice recording of what was actually said.

    9. When taping remember to state the time the place the purpose of the meeting and who is present and etc. This way they know you are serious.

    10. You can always offer to duplicate a tape for them, their tape record can not be located or if it is not working.

    11. After your Team meeting, you can go home with all your notes you wrote during your meeting (or the tape), and type them up, and send a copy to everyone at the meeting. You would want to do this as quickly as possible, so the school receives them before they start typing up your child's IEP. This is what is also know as a "Letter of understanding" and it's a recap of the meeting that can eliminate misunderstandings. If your notes are good, they might use your notes instead of their own.

    12. If the school system says "no" to taping, stop the meeting and ask the person who is saying no to please contact his or her supervisor and have them fax the school policy and the reason why you cannot tape the meeting. (If you can get this person to say on tape, why they are refusing, it is wonderful documentation to have on tape.)

    13. If you tape from your first Team meeting, they will come to except it and if you need the tapes you have them.
    Wrightslaw law website has an article on How and Why to Tape Record Meeting.
  12. jcox

    jcox New Member

    Thanks so much Sheila! You gave me some very helpful information about everything I needed to know. I really appreciate it. husband is waiting on a note from his psychiatrist stating why he needs to record it. It helps to know that with that note if they deny our request that it may be a civil right violation from my understanding...