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Tape-recording IEP Meetings: What Does the Law Say?

11/02/09
by Wrightslaw

Does a teacher or service provider have the right to refuse to be recorded during an IEP meeting? Is there caselaw or code that deals with this?

An IEP meeting should focus on how to provide appropriate education to a child with a disability. There should be no conversation at an IEP meeting that cannot be repeated or taped.

We are not aware of any law about a teacher or parent’s right not to be recorded during an IEP meeting.

Federal law does not prohibit a parent or school official from recording IEP meetings. State departments of education or school districts can require, prohibit, limit, or regulate the use of recording devices at IEP meetings.

But, if a school has a policy that prohibits parents from recording meetings, that policy must include exceptions to ensure that parents understand the IEP.

The district must make exceptions if this policy interferes with a parent’s ability to participate in the IEP process.

  • If the policy prevents parents from participating in an IEP meeting
  • If both parents are unable to attend the meeting
  • Other factors that interfere with parental rights

Many states have language in their special ed regulations about their policy on audio- and videotaping.  Check  your state’s regulation about recording. Schools cannot record meetings while prohibiting parents from recording.

OSEP refers to Appendix A of the final regulations implementing the 1997
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1997) as the Department’s current position regarding the audio or video tape recording of IEP meetings.

“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.”

See the OSEP policy letter (2003) and OSEP memorandum (1991) at http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/letters/2003-2/redact060403iep2q2003.pdf

The OSEP memo cites cases where courts have held that parents have a right to tape record their child’s IEP meeting.

More articles on tape recording meetings:

How and Why to Tape Record Meetings
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/advo.tips.mtgs.tape.palmer.htm

IEP Tips: Taping Meetings
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/iep.tips.taping.eason.htm

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19 Comments on "Tape-recording IEP Meetings: What Does the Law Say?"


Jackie
04/20/2015

The way I see it, if tape recording is the only way to ensure parent participation (one parent is available, one cannot get off of work to attend), I believe that recording is a perfect accommodation for the absent parent. That way, they are ensuring parent participation even though they apparently did not hold the meeting at a time or place that was convenient for the family. Since districts are allowed to record and call the recording part of the “educational record”, why then can a parent not do the same? It’s beneficial for all parties because the record is accurate and there is no more “he said, she said”.

I simply put the recorder in the center of the table, press “record” and then say “I am recording this meeting so we have an accurate record on what is decided here today. This is part of x’s personal educational record. You are more than welcome to have a copy for his private record. If anyone has an issue with this, please let me know.” No one has EVER said no, as the tape was already running. Perhaps they didn’t want to be recorded expressing dissension?

Alicia
03/20/2014

Is it legal in New York to record a cse meeting?

Liv2
12/15/2013

We just had our Annual Review. He is on a stay put IEP since 2011 due to placement. We were told we could not talk about placement at this meeting. but at the end of the meeting the meeting leader said we are still proposing the same placement.
I sent a letter to intent to record the meeting which they chose to record also. But everyone on my sons team that works with him on a daily basis refused to be recorded. Trust level has not been there for a long time but now this team just shot down any trust we had. it is so sad.

DELORIS
10/09/2013

Does the teacher need permission from the parent to video tape their child in the classroom?

Glenn
03/21/2011

Sixth Circuit has recently decided that a school district, by virtue of a collective bargaining agreement, has a policy preventing parents from tape recording IEP meetings. (The collective bargaining agreement does not address IEP meetings rather it discusses visits to the classroom). The case was decided on 3/11/11 and is captioned Glenn Horen v. Board of Education of the City of Toledo School Dist.