this: First, we do not ask. We just put the recorder right in the middle
of the table and turn it on and make our identification of the meeting,
If someone from
the school asks us to turn it off, we pick the little square speaker
up and with the recorder still running, we politely ask the person
to speak directly into the microphone and clearly state their name
and that the school district is forbidding that an audio record of
the meeting be made.
Usually the person who raised the objection says something like "I guess
Idenfication and Filing of Tapes
and filing of the tapes is critical. Because the tapes are not transcribed
unless we need them for due process or other "proof" purposes, we include a clear
written identification of the student's name, date, time, what
tape recorder was used, who operated the recorder, name of the school
district and meeting type. This is put into the plastic box that contains
the tape. That box containing the tape is then is placed into the
case pocket folder file in a section we call "facts and notes."
When we need to
transcribe a tape, we first have the parent listen to the tape and
identify each speaker's voice on the tape. We check and double check
that identification whenever possible.
For the actual transcribing,
we have it done by a notary public. By following this process, we
have not yet had a transcript denied when properly offered into evidence
at a hearing. Objections, yes, but never sustained. (knock on wood)
Tapes as Part of Educational Record
Often the school
district will tape record the meetings as well. When they do, those
tapes are a part of the student's educational record. We request
the school furnish us copies of all tapes they make of meetings.
This is useful because the school's tape will often pick up some comments
more clearly than did ours. It also discourages convenient blank spots
appearing in the school's tape.
This sounds like
a whole bunch of trouble and it is. We do it because it works -- and
because good evidence (we refer to it as a clear record) can often
be the leverage we need to help the district see the error of its
logic and keep a dispute from going to formal hearing.
It is surprising
what people say during these meetings. We look for statements that
contradict a later position, statements made against their own interest,
of taping meetings came home today. In a rather heated matter
now in formal proceedings, opposing counsel attached meeting minutes
as an exhibit to her client's reply to our motion for partial summary
the exhibit, voices from the exhibit screamed out "Manufactured Minutes." Sure enough, we dug out the tape, listened, and would you believe
the exhibit was not an accurate reflection of the meeting?
More Articles by Brice Palmer
to Negotiate is Part of the Advocacy Process.
Parents negotiate with schools on behalf of their children. In this
article, you will learn basic negotiation techniques that will help
you be a more effective advocate.
to Prepare Your Case. If you need to request a due process
hearing to resolve a dispute, your job is to present your case
in an organized manner that gives the decision maker enough good factual
information to reach a conclusion in your favor.
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Last revised: 08/09/08