Observation: BARRING PARENTS FROM THE CLASSROOM

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Liz: My son’s early childhood program has just issued a new policy that parents are not allowed in the classroom. Parents must now wait outside for an aid to take the child into the school and classroom. Parents can no longer walk their children into the classroom. We are told this is for protection of student privacy. Do they have a legal right to do this ?

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2004 OSEP Letter to Mamas states:

However, we encourage school district personnel and parents to work together in ways that meet the needs of both the parents and the school, including providing opportunities for parents to observe their children’s classrooms and proposed placement options. In addition, there may be circumstances in which access may need to be provided. For example, if parents invoke their right to an independent educational evaluation of their child, and the evaluation requires observing the child in the educational placement, the evaluator may need to be provided access to the placement.

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/letters/2004-2/mamas052604placement2q2004.pdf

Sophie

I found a helpful law about a parent’s right to observe the child in the classroom.

From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB):

Section 9101
(32) PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT- The term ‚”parental involvement‚” means the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities, including ensuring‚
(A) that parents play an integral role in assisting their child’s learning;
(B) that parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s education at school;‚
(C) that parents are full partners in their child’s education and are included, as appropriate, in decision making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child;
(D) the carrying out of other activities, such as those described in section 1118.

Section 1118
Each school served under this part shall jointly develop with parents for all children served under this part a school-parent compact. [] Such compact shall….
(2) address the importance of communication between teachers and parents on an ongoing basis through, at a minimum,
(A) parent-teacher conferences in elementary schools, at least annually, during which the compact shall be discussed as the compact relates to the individual child’s achievement;
(B) frequent reports to parents on their children’s progress; and
(C) reasonable access to staff, opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child’s class, and observation of classroom activities.

Isn’t that last part a doozie?

Chuck

On the Wrightslaw homepage google “classroom observations” and you will find several articles addressing this topic/issue.