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Isabella: If divorced parents share legal custody without a specific ruling on educational rights, can either parent ban or bar the other parent’s advocate from attending meetings? I need case law rulings to present to a school as the school is already unhappy I have an advocate and would be glad to prevent my advocate from attending meetings. Thank you

  1. I have a question, I am an advocate. Parent stated verbal permission for me to stay and work with the school at a meeting as she had to leave the meeting to go to work. As this was done in the past many times before, we thought this wouldn’t be a problem. The district is now stating that if the parent leaves the meeting, that I am to leave the meeting. They stated it’s in the policy. When I requested a copy of the policy they agreed, but I have yet to receive it. Thoughts?

    • Typically districts have a copy of their policy manual on line. If this is a special ed policy or procedure, that should be available from the special ed office.

  2. Hi question. We are have our daughters meeting in regards to get her evaluated for a disability. We would like our advocate to be present by phone however we received a call today from our pupil advisor stating they won’t allow it. I know we have the right to have an advocate attended by law, however is there anything indicating that it can’t be done by phone conference? Please help!

    • IDEA rules allow parents to bring someone to IEP meetings. Your state may have rules allowing schools to decide about when to use phone conferencing & with whom. You may want to try to involve the district special ed director.

  3. Isabella –

    IDEA states that the parent or school may invite an individual to the Team meeting who has special knowledge or expertise regarding the child. It further states that the inviting party determines whether the invited individual meets this qualification (§ 300.321).

    This regulation is often cited to prevent schools from denying parent’s use of advocates at meetings. Although the law doesn’t address disputes between parents, one could reasonably assume it also means that either parent has the right to invite individuals to the meeting.

    That said, you and your ex-partner will certainly be more effective advocates for your child if you can work as a united front. Some districts will exploit even a small cracks in a parents’ alliance.

    This guide from the Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education may be of interest to you:

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