Do I Have to Tell If I Tape-Record the IEP Meeting?

Can I tape record the IEP meeting without telling the CSE committee?  Is it legal? Without regard to any particular state or federal law, except for law enforcement personnel, in general if someone records a meeting or a telephone call without knowledge of the other person, frequently it is not admissible evidence in any litigation. It may be a crime committed by you. The question then is… what would you be able to do with it? Quite possibly nothing! A Better Way What I always told my clients, NEVER tape record someone without their knowledge, whether over the phone or …Read more

School Refuses to Provide Assessment Results – Not Educational Records??

We started the process months ago and still have not had our IEP meeting! 1. The school has decided that legal timelines are unimportant. 2. I requested assessment results before the IEP meeting and was denied. 3. School said they are only required to give me school records before the IEP meeting. Technically, the current assessments “are not school records” until we hold an official meeting. 4. I asked the school psychologist for the actual names of the assessments so I can research the tests. She ignored my request. Sound familiar? Here’s where to start. Read the Law First.  Turn …Read more

Paper Trails: Your Word Against Theirs – Not a Good Position!

A parent writes, The IEP has been ongoing for a year now. There have been endless problems:  – IEP is still unsigned – procedural errors by the team – no response to requested evaluation – reevaluation committee met, the teacher was not there – two new people attended the meeting, neither knew my child How can I explain what’s happening? Many parents don’t realize that it’s essential to create a paper trail of all contacts with school personnel. We repeat this often, but will happily share the links to information and articles again. If you don’t create a paper trail, …Read more

The Principal Accused Me of Being Argumentative!

My daughter has pulmonary hypertension. Her cardiologist’s orders say no physical activity – “must be excused from PE.” The principal informed me that she would HAVE to participate in PE. When I disagreed, the principal accused me of being argumentative. What should I do? First, you need to document what happened in the meeting by writing a “Letter to a Stranger.” Your letter should document: your child’s medical history what her doctors told you what the principal said in the meeting Your letter needs to be factual, not emotional. Let the facts tell the story. Here’s how-

Tips & Tricks for Getting Effective IEPs

Things I have learned through the years that have helped me get a program to meet my children’s needs. 1.  Knowledge is power. I learned as much as I could about the law.  I used the internet, library and support groups.  There is a wealth of support groups online. Find one right for you. Use your knowledge to even the playing field with the school. 2.  Prepare for the IEP meeting. I always requested a DRAFT version of the IEP, 5 days in advance, so I would have time to read it.  I had a professional (physician, neurologist, advocate, attorney) …Read more

Carry a Binder Instead of a Big Stick

Guest post from a grandparent advocate who says, “Excellent job again Wrightslaw! There is nothing like the power of getting organized!” Our school district knows that I keep records and am well-documented when advocating on behalf of my grandchild. The district’s ombudsman listens to me and treats me with respect. When I provided proper documentation showing genuine need, she assisted in resolving delays in approved services and even helped reverse unsubstantiated denials of service. Every advocate’s goal…to foster positive action on behalf of their child, grandchild, or ward. I just love it when a school official says, I don’t have …Read more

Carrying a Binder Instead of a Big Stick

Guest post from a grandparent advocate who says, “Excellent job again Wrightslaw! There is nothing like the power of getting organized!” Our school district knows that I keep records and am well-documented when advocating on behalf of my grandchild. The district’s ombudsman listens to me and treats me with respect. When I provided proper documentation showing genuine need, she assisted in resolving delays in approved services and even helped reverse unsubstantiated denials of service. Every advocate’s goal…to foster positive action on behalf of their child, grandchild, or ward. I just love it when a school official says, I don’t have …Read more

Write a Letter to the School to Request an Action

2011 Summer School Short Course Assignment #2: WRITE A LETTER Your assignment this week: Write a short, one page letter to the school to request an action. Before you write, answer these questions: Why am I writing? What is my purpose? What do I want? What am I trying to accomplish? We will use a 20 point checklist to review your letter to ensure you have included all of the correct elements. Your letter must follow the 12 rules of letter writing. Need some help?  Review previous issues in the Summer School Short Course: Advocating Through Letter Writing and Chapter …Read more

The Negative Impact of Certified Letters

At Wrightslaw, we have always recommended creating a paper trail through documentation in letters. Many parents think you should send important letters to the school by certified mail.  This could have a negative impact on your relationship with school personnel. It may cause the recipient to feel defensive and mistrustful.  So how do you establish that the school received your letter?

IEP FAQs: Can Parents Demand a Member of the IEP Team be Excluded?

A Guidance Counselor ignored our parental consent form and conducted some tests on our daughter against our written instructions, even though she also signed the form acknowledging our concern. Our parental control was totally ignored. This guidance counselor is listed as an IEP Team member, but my wife and I can not trust her anymore. Can we demand she be excluded from the IEP Team? You can demand, but if you do, you set yourself up for a big fall – and you are likely to be labeled as unstable. Parents need to request the services their children need and …Read more