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Confidentiality: Who Should Have a Copy of the Child’s IEP?

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At a recent workshop, the presenters stated that teachers have the right to have copies of their students' IEPs in the classroom. Is this right? How can confidentiality be maintained if the teachers have copies of IEPs?

 It seems to me that giving teachers copies of IEPs is a gross violation of the confidentiality of students with special needs.

If this information is correct, how should I deal with students at the high school level who have more than one teacher?

Wrightslaw replies

You have several good questions.

The child's teachers should have a copy of the child's IEP. If the teachers don't know what’s in the IEP, they can’t provide services, accommodations, modifications, etc.

Most kids with disabilities receive part or most of their education in general education classes taught by regular education teachers. In the past, many regular education teachers did not know that children were receiving special education services. As you can imagine, this often led to big problems. These problems are often worse at the middle school and high school levels, possibly because schools are larger and communication is poor.

We suggest that parents make copies of their child’s IEP and provide each teacher with a copy. This may help reduce misunderstandings due to lack of information.

The reauthorized IDEA changed the IEP process. At least one regular education teacher of the child must attend IEP meetings. (See Appendix A)

However, this doesn’t mean the child’s IEP should be public knowledge.

What is your role at your school? Are you responsible for records?

If so, you should definitely read the FERPA statute which is about educational records.

Our new book Wrightslaw Special Education Law includes the FERPA statute and regulations.

Good luck!

P & P Wright

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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
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