We are in due process. We’ve recorded the IEP meetings. Should we use transcripts of the meetings or use the tapes as evidence in the hearing?
I always submit tapes of IEP meetings as the “Best Evidence,” i.e., the primary exhibit about what was recorded at the meeting. A transcript is simply an aid to understanding the tape recording …
I prefer to use audio tapes as evidence because they are not cutting edge technology. Tapes are easier for those Hearing Officers who are not computer savvy. If the case goes up, tapes are easier for federal court judges to use. In several cases, after the hearing but before the decision was rendered, the HO / Administrative Law Judge listened to more (or all) of the tape, and became aware of the negative attitudes and intimidation of parents by school staff.
If the meeting was recorded on mini-cassette tapes and Judge uses a full-size cassette player, we still introduce the mini-cassette into evidence. By agreement, we add the full-size cassette to that exhibit after it is recorded onto the new tape.
If the tape is in a digital format, I would submit an audio CD as the “Best Evidence”, i.e., the primary exhibit.
I always submit the master tape to the Hearing officer /Administrative Law Judge and have copies made for the school board attorney, the parents, and me. ~ Pete