In November, I offered to research an issue and write a legal memorandum about whether an attorney for the school can legally attend an IEP team meeting.
Thank you to all who posted comments on my article Can School Attorneys Legally Attend IEP Meetings?
I am finally out of finals and through the holidays and I wanted to respond to your comments. Sorry for the delay.
- “These attorneys actively misrepresent laws and safeguards.”
- “Power of Attorney is no longer recognized by the school district as a legal document.”
I wonder if the attorneys were trying to split hairs between a general power of attorney and a specific power of attorney (SPOA) for education. It could be that the school wants specific language concerning what rights the adult student is transferring to the parent.
The Virginia Department of Education has a good guide and a sample SPOA at
- “I agree that attorneys attending IEP meetings should be subject to subpoena and cross examination in subsequent due process hearings.”
Glenn, James and Kelli, granting your wish would likely impact parents more than the school. Can you imagine if the school could essentially “terminate” the parent’s attorney by subpoena? Few parents have the hundreds of thousands of dollars that school districts do for multiple attorneys. The cost to the parent of hiring another attorney to start from scratch would be huge.
- “The attorney, though claiming special knowledge about the child, was not required to share what that knowledge was though he was permitted to participate in making decisions regarding the child’s IEP.”
Glenn, I agree that this does not make logical sense: special knowledge about the child is not the same as special knowledge about special education law. Yet, as the Department of Education notes, “Paragraph (c) of §300.344 provides that the determination of the knowledge or special expertise of any individual described in paragraph (a)(6) shall be made by the party (parents or public agency) who invited the individual to be a member of the IEP team.”