Thursday, February 10, 2011

IEP Preparation: Prepare To Always Record Your IEP Meetings!

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings (for special education students) can be very confusing.  They are made up of a group of individuals with different education levels, credentials, and motivations. Parents also often feel they are outnumbered or ill-prepared.  This is especially true if they disagree with the rest of the IEP "team."  As such, in their IEP preparation, parents should take the necessary steps to record their IEP meetings.


Although at an IEP meeting there is an official note taker who is an employee of the school district and/or school, WHAT this person notes down and emphasizes is totally up to them.  As such, the note taker may miss things, or may not note down things a parent thinks are important.

Also, as parents are usually involved in the IEP discussion, they may be unable to take adequate written notes themselves or may take no notes at all.  How then does a parent prove an administrator offered to provide their son a one-on-one aide when it is not in the notes or the IEP document?  They have no way to prove this unless the administrator admits they said this, which certainly will not happen if the offer is disputed.  It is much better to be able to prove it by playing the recording.

Recording is important even with IEP teams who "get along."  This is because if there ever is a dispute, a record will be available.  Recording also keeps team members on their toes and influences all in attendance to meet their legal obligations.


Parents have a legal right to record their IEP meetings as long as they provide 24 hour written notice to the district.  This is outlined in California Education Code section 56341.1(g)(1) which states:

"[T]he parent or guardian or local educational agency shall have the right to audio record the proceedings of individualized education program team meetings.  The parent or guardian or local educational agency shall notify the members of the individualized education program team of his, her, or its intent to audio record a meeting at least 24 hours prior to the meetings."

As can be seen parents, the school and/or school district have the right to record.


Parents cannot just walk into an IEP meeting and record.  Rather, they have to do some IEP preparation in advance to ensure they are granted this right.  Otherwise, they may be denied the right to record.  To ensure they can record they must:

1)  Provide notice 24 hours in advance to the IEP team and/or person in charge.
2)  Bring a recording device.
3)  Bring a copy of the notice they provided in case they are questioned

This simple device can keep the IEP team on their toes and can ensure that the rights of the student are met.  As such, doing a little IEP preparation by sending advanced notice and bringing a recording device is well worth it.

Michelle Ball
Education Law Attorney
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209
Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page []. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting, etc. etc.!  This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship.

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