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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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18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Wrightslaw 03/20/14 at 5:09 pm

    Alicia: Did you check your state regulations for information about recording meetings? You can find them on the website for your state Department of Education. A link is here – on the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids. Scroll down to NY. http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/help/seas.htm

    Use the contact email / phone number on that page if you need to contact someone at NYSED. When you have an answer – please share. We will post the information for others.

  • 2 Alicia 03/20/14 at 7:51 am

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

  • 3 Liv2 12/15/13 at 10:21 am

    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.

  • 4 DELORIS 10/09/13 at 3:25 pm

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

  • 5 Glenn 03/21/11 at 6:23 pm

    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.

  • 6 Kathy M 03/05/11 at 4:23 pm

    case law no; SE-1992-2007 Toledo OH Impartial hearing officer rules: NO TAPING if school district says no

  • 7 noelle 10/25/10 at 6:03 am

    What about an individual’s constitutional right to say No I do not wish to be taped?

  • 8 dbh 01/26/10 at 2:25 pm

    The Pennsylvania crimes code makes the recording of a meeting wihout all parties approval a 3rd class felony. Please comment.

  • 9 Rose 01/18/10 at 2:39 pm

    One of the IEP members did not want to be tape recorded. I said that was fine but they had to find someone else to take their place with the same qualifications they had and they will consent to being tape recorded.

  • 10 Susan 12/02/09 at 11:33 am

    I have advocated to clients/parents for several years to tape record their IEP/PPT meetings. I have also instructed the parents/clients to write and request copies of the district’s recordings. It has proven many times over that much of what was said in these meetings was either missed or required review for clarification.

    One regret I have is that I didn’t from the beginning have our district’s tapes transcribed. During our due process, it would have been very beneficial to do so. The cost in transcription would have been spread out over the course of a few years instead of a few months. Court appointed transcription in Connecticut is a costly affair.

  • 11 Robin 11/23/09 at 6:39 pm

    As long as you give written notice of intent to record, there should not be any problem. My favorite mantra when dealing with this type of issue is “policies are not laws”. I have had to remind district personell of this many times when presented with “questionable” policies. I ask for “laws, not policies” and they usually do not have any sort of response,

  • 12 Glenn 11/18/09 at 5:57 am

    FYI – This issue is currently before the 6th Circuit in Toledo Public Schools v. Horens. Fed. Judge James Carr ruled the school could stop parents from tape recording IEP meetings b/c a union contract between the district and the teachers’ union prohibited video/audio taping during a school visit without the teacher’s permission. Though Mrs. Horen is an attorney, and parents tried to find an attorney to represent them, no attorney would put themselves in front of Judge Carr (who hates pro se parents). The state of the law in this area now. – no tape recording. Parents are forced to try to fight this themselves in the 6th circuit – briefs due early December 2009.

  • 13 Wrightslaw 11/12/09 at 12:35 pm

    If the school wants to reschedule, it often takes time to get everyone back together. If this happens again, offer to provide the school with a duplicate copy of your recording.

  • 14 gina 11/11/09 at 10:13 pm

    My school district said the 504 meeting would have to be rescheduled because they needed to have their own recording equipment, which wasn’t working at the time. But they didn’t disallow it.

  • 15 Jon 11/11/09 at 7:09 pm

    We tape recorded our early IEP meetings and said “a friend suggested it to be free to listen and not have to get distracted trying to take good notes” – the idea was to put the district on notice that they were being recorded.

    The “friend” was our attorney who advised us on our rights. We were fortunate that we never had to mention that we had been advised by an attorney. Maybe the district sensed we knew our rights by our actions and words, but it isn’t always that easy.

    Jon Singer

    ………………………………………………………
    Drive For Rebecca, Inc.
    Building better lives for individuals with autism (TM)
    Download free excerpts now from
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  • 16 Gianna 11/09/09 at 11:05 pm

    I think in California, we can’t record people without their permission. I doubt they would give their permission but I sure would like to record the next IEP…..

  • 17 janet 11/02/09 at 10:07 pm

    On July 27, 2009, the OCR wrote regarding the high school not allowing us to tape a re-evaluation meeting: “This VDOE regulation was silent as to whether re-evaluation meetings may be recorded by either the parent(s) or school.”

  • 18 Anon 11/02/09 at 4:21 pm

    What about videotaping? My school district refused it!