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Debra:  I am a special education teacher. One of the students in my class responds well to video modeling which is an evidenced based practice for working with students with autism. His outside behavioral counselor and I are working together to try to stop certain inappropriate behaviors by observing various strategies to lesson meltdowns and then collaborating on what changes need to be made. His parent has given consent to video student on my cell phone and then text or email photos and video to her and the counselor. My principal says that even with parental consent, it is illegal and against special education law to video tape a student. Is this correct? Does this still apply to a student on an IEP who responds well to this Evidence Based Practice?

  1. I have a few suggestions for you. One, the parent can sign a waiver. I don’t think it’s necessary, but what can it hurt? And it might assuage some administrators’ concerns. Two, you or the parent could FOIA the district for any policies or procedures that may exist regarding videotaping of students in school. Three, the outside counselor can sign a confidentiality agreement. (I assume the parent has already signed consent for this person to communicate with the school.)

    I suppose there may be some concern about the right to privacy of the classmates. This is a little tricky. Do not bring this up if they don’t!

    Try to see if your district has posted any videos of students online. Many districts do this these days. Finding something on the district website, or a teacher’s web page, would be a stroke of luck, because then you could show them that they are being inconsistent. (Which would be discrimination against the child by virtue of her disability.)

  2. There is nothing in the federal special ed law (IDEA) about video-taping a student. In this case, you are simply trying to teach a student the skills he needs to learn. His parent gave consent.

    So what is your principal worried about? Is he worried that the video will fall into the wrong hands? That someone will post it on the Internet?

    You need to find out what your principal is worried about before you can allay his fears.

  3. Any time a district says something is against the law (or policy etc), ask for a copy of the law etc. Best practice, first ..submit your proposal in writing. The district must provide a PWN if it refuses to agree. The Notice is very specific and must be in narrative form,not simply checkboxes.
    While you have every right to conduct your own research into any statute, code, regulation or policy, the burden is on the district to respond pursuant to a PWN.

    • Candy, Thanks for participating in the Wrightslaw Way blog. I hope you will continue to read and answer questions.

      This question is from a special ed teacher. Prior Written Notice is a procedural safeguard (protection) available to parents who represent the interests of their children with disabilities.

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