Tape-recording IEP Meetings: What Does the Law Say?

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Does a teacher or service provider have the right to refuse to be recorded during an IEP meeting? Is there caselaw or code that deals with this?

An IEP meeting should focus on how to provide appropriate education to a child with a disability. There should be no conversation at an IEP meeting that cannot be repeated or taped.

We are not aware of any law about a teacher or parent’s right not to be recorded during an IEP meeting.

Federal law does not prohibit a parent or school official from recording IEP meetings. State departments of education or school districts can require, prohibit, limit, or regulate the use of recording devices at IEP meetings.

But, if a school has a policy that prohibits parents from recording meetings, that policy must include exceptions to ensure that parents understand the IEP.

The district must make exceptions if this policy interferes with a parent’s ability to participate in the IEP process.

  • If the policy prevents parents from participating in an IEP meeting
  • If both parents are unable to attend the meeting
  • Other factors that interfere with parental rights

Many states have language in their special ed regulations about their policy on audio- and videotaping.  Check  your state’s regulation about recording. Schools cannot record meetings while prohibiting parents from recording.

OSEP refers to Appendix A of the final regulations implementing the 1997
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1997) as the Department’s current position regarding the audio or video tape recording of IEP meetings.

“Part B does not address the use of audio or video recording devices at IEP
meetings, and no other Federal statute either authorizes or prohibits the
recording of an IEP meeting by either a parent or a school official.”

See the OSEP policy letter (2003) and OSEP memorandum (1991) at


The OSEP memo cites cases where courts have held that parents have a right to tape record their child’s IEP meeting.

Re-edited from a post originally published 11/02/2009

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How and Why to Tape Record Meetings
IEP Tips: Taping Meetings
IEP FAQs: Tapes are Best Evidence in Litigation
Tape-Recording Meetings: Transcribing Follow-Up Letters

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10/23/2020 10:07 am

I wanted to audiotape my child’s 504 since her father could not make the meeting and was told since not all parties consented I could not do so. We live in CA. Does the district have right of refusal?

05/13/2020 8:11 am

I indicated my intent to record my child’s Zoom IEP. I was told by the school district that it is not allowed because video recording is against privacy laws? I live in GA where we are a one party state so I didn’t even need to tell them I was recording but did to be nice. Can they tell me I can’t record a meeting?

05/11/2020 12:04 am

I know it is not a recording question, but can a parent request a copy of the notes from the IEP meeting?

05/16/2019 10:15 pm

Hello. I’m a special ed teacher from CA. After 18 years of teaching, I finally had an Amendment IEP with my first attorney who wanted the meeting recorded. I was taught in school by my professors that teachers had civil rights and could refuse to be recorded. My admistrator states otherwise. He sent me this website as evidence. What is the truth? Thank you.

02/14/2020 10:14 pm
Reply to  Goly

You’ve conflated two distinct issues. You do have civil rights, and the IEP can absolutely be audio recorded and/ or transcribed. The two are not mutually exclusive of one another. I am guessing you likely intend a reasonable expectation of privacy and labor union protections (or even Garrity warnings) when you write “teachers had civil rights” in response to recorded IEP meetings. The IEP meeting is not your civil right or related labor right — it’s following federal law, the IDEA. Wrightslaw provides plain language context on recording but it does not provide “evidence” or “truth” as you say. It does point to authorities in the form of relevant federal statute and agency memoranda. The takeaway: an overt recording is not prohibited by federal law.

08/06/2018 5:41 pm

Photocopy the IEP document and go over it with a highlighter. Make a list of anything ambiguous. Example: You recall the principal at the IEP meeting saying that your child would have a 1:1 aide but it is not in the services listing. Write a letter or email to the special ed director (or your child’s case manager) asking for clarification. See here for sample letters. Hopefully, you electronically recorded the IEP meeting so that you can transcribe the principal’s statement to include in your letter. (Your right to audio record IEP meetings varies by state. See Wrightslaw to learn about recording IEP meetings.)

05/04/2017 10:02 am

If the parent has a documented diagnosis that qualifies as a disability, such as ADHD, wouldn’t tape recording be a permissible reasonable accommodation under the ADA if its a public school?
There is no state policy in my state regarding the use of recording devices.
Additionally, what is the standard protocol on a parent providing documentation of a disability to the school admin. To enable use of reasonable accommodations? The parent is not an employee of the school or a student. What is considered reasonable vs. an undue hardship on the parent with the disability. I thought under ADA, a suspicion of disability is enough to request an accommodation. I’ve always been allowed to tape until recently.

04/06/2017 2:07 am

I’ve just received news from the school’s union (I work for the district as well as have a special needs child) that “if a request is made to record IEP meetings, everyone involved in that meeting must give their consent, and cannot be forced into attending if they do not wish to be recorded.” I’m puzzled by this news as I’ve always recorded my child’s IEP meeting. Please advise on the accuracy of the above and if the district is allowed to dictate the recording of IEP meetings as stated above.

04/06/2017 12:48 pm
Reply to  Sue

Most states have a law on tape recording any conversation that applies to IEP meetings. Districts should have written policy on this that is based on the state law. Google tape-recording conversations in your state, & find your district policy on this to verify what they are telling you.

03/10/2018 10:54 am
Reply to  Chuck

Hello, I have the same issue as Sue. I requested to tape record my son’s FBA meeting, he has an IEP. I entered the meeting alone with 8 school employees sitting across from me and was given a piece of paper from http://www.specialedconnection.com about tape recording meetings. They highlighted the area stating “Tape recordings of an IEP meeting as evidence in Due Process proceedings” but there was no reference to a direct statute or policy, just a quote stating, “the right of tape recording must be exercised in good faith by all parties…”. We were not in Due Process, nor do I even intend to going to Due process for an FBA meeting. But my question is the same as well. I live in Florida, and according to state law, privacy rights of public officials working in official capacity would not be viola

03/12/2018 3:19 pm
Reply to  Marissa

I suggest you tell them you will be recording, & start the recording. Then whatever they say about recording will be on tape. If they say you cannot, ask them the legal reference they are using.

03/09/2017 1:49 pm

In NJ-Can the parents record via audio or video the school’s evaluations? Or even have a representative present?

02/17/2017 6:00 pm

Can school districts deny the parents’ request for a copy of the recording made at an IEP meeting?

12/19/2019 10:44 am
Reply to  Paul

No, its a part of the child’s educational record.

07/19/2016 1:52 pm

I’ve found it helpful to base my need to record on the way I process auditory input and a fairly high level of auditory ADD. Even without ADD, I think it helpful when receiving significant amounts of information from several different people in an arguably stressful situation to have a recording to review if necessary. I believe the strongest argument touches on the parent’s right/need to fully participate, e.g., one parent being absent. Seriously, if they don’t want me to record, any meeting will be slowed to a snail’s pace while I take notes verbatim.

06/03/2015 8:16 am

In NY, is it legal for a parent to tape record an annual review meeting without the CSE committee being aware of the meeting being recorded?

04/20/2015 10:36 am

The way I see it, if tape recording is the only way to ensure parent participation (one parent is available, one cannot get off of work to attend), I believe that recording is a perfect accommodation for the absent parent. That way, they are ensuring parent participation even though they apparently did not hold the meeting at a time or place that was convenient for the family. Since districts are allowed to record and call the recording part of the “educational record”, why then can a parent not do the same? It’s beneficial for all parties because the record is accurate and there is no more “he said, she said”.

I simply put the recorder in the center of the table, press “record” and then say “I am recording this meeting so we have an accurate record on what is decided here today. This is part of x’s personal educational record. You are more than welcome to have a copy for his private record. If anyone has an issue with this, please let me know.” No one has EVER said no, as the tape was already running. Perhaps they didn’t want to be recorded expressing dissension?

03/20/2014 7:51 am

Is it legal in New York to record a cse meeting?

12/15/2013 10:21 am

We just had our Annual Review. He is on a stay put IEP since 2011 due to placement. We were told we could not talk about placement at this meeting. but at the end of the meeting the meeting leader said we are still proposing the same placement.
I sent a letter to intent to record the meeting which they chose to record also. But everyone on my sons team that works with him on a daily basis refused to be recorded. Trust level has not been there for a long time but now this team just shot down any trust we had. it is so sad.

10/09/2013 3:25 pm

Does the teacher need permission from the parent to video tape their child in the classroom?

03/21/2011 6:23 pm

Sixth Circuit has recently decided that a school district, by virtue of a collective bargaining agreement, has a policy preventing parents from tape recording IEP meetings. (The collective bargaining agreement does not address IEP meetings rather it discusses visits to the classroom). The case was decided on 3/11/11 and is captioned Glenn Horen v. Board of Education of the City of Toledo School Dist.

Kathy M
03/05/2011 4:23 pm

case law no; SE-1992-2007 Toledo OH Impartial hearing officer rules: NO TAPING if school district says no

11/11/2017 9:48 am
Reply to  Kathy M

That gives the school special rights to say anything and do anything with no accountability. They can write summaries of the meeting that never happened, and have the summary checked by their law expert, before giving you a copy. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Schools relish in being law experts at the expense of the caring parent, the guardian and protector of the child. And oh my word, if you have a non-speaking child, and they have someone who is your neighbor that feels threatened, (even though it may have never crossed your mind) they can convince every teacher to report a parent to CPS/DSS to malign that parents good name and character, never conference with you, and not allow you to have lunch with your child.

10/25/2010 6:03 am

What about an individual’s constitutional right to say No I do not wish to be taped?

01/26/2010 2:25 pm

The Pennsylvania crimes code makes the recording of a meeting wihout all parties approval a 3rd class felony. Please comment.

01/18/2010 2:39 pm

One of the IEP members did not want to be tape recorded. I said that was fine but they had to find someone else to take their place with the same qualifications they had and they will consent to being tape recorded.

12/02/2009 11:33 am

I have advocated to clients/parents for several years to tape record their IEP/PPT meetings. I have also instructed the parents/clients to write and request copies of the district’s recordings. It has proven many times over that much of what was said in these meetings was either missed or required review for clarification.

One regret I have is that I didn’t from the beginning have our district’s tapes transcribed. During our due process, it would have been very beneficial to do so. The cost in transcription would have been spread out over the course of a few years instead of a few months. Court appointed transcription in Connecticut is a costly affair.

11/23/2009 6:39 pm

As long as you give written notice of intent to record, there should not be any problem. My favorite mantra when dealing with this type of issue is “policies are not laws”. I have had to remind district personell of this many times when presented with “questionable” policies. I ask for “laws, not policies” and they usually do not have any sort of response,

11/18/2009 5:57 am

FYI – This issue is currently before the 6th Circuit in Toledo Public Schools v. Horens. Fed. Judge James Carr ruled the school could stop parents from tape recording IEP meetings b/c a union contract between the district and the teachers’ union prohibited video/audio taping during a school visit without the teacher’s permission. Though Mrs. Horen is an attorney, and parents tried to find an attorney to represent them, no attorney would put themselves in front of Judge Carr (who hates pro se parents). The state of the law in this area now. – no tape recording. Parents are forced to try to fight this themselves in the 6th circuit – briefs due early December 2009.

11/11/2009 10:13 pm

My school district said the 504 meeting would have to be rescheduled because they needed to have their own recording equipment, which wasn’t working at the time. But they didn’t disallow it.

11/11/2009 7:09 pm

We tape recorded our early IEP meetings and said “a friend suggested it to be free to listen and not have to get distracted trying to take good notes” – the idea was to put the district on notice that they were being recorded.

The “friend” was our attorney who advised us on our rights. We were fortunate that we never had to mention that we had been advised by an attorney. Maybe the district sensed we knew our rights by our actions and words, but it isn’t always that easy.

Jon Singer

Drive For Rebecca, Inc.
Building better lives for individuals with autism (TM)
Download free excerpts now from
The Special Needs Parent Handbook

11/09/2009 11:05 pm

I think in California, we can’t record people without their permission. I doubt they would give their permission but I sure would like to record the next IEP…..

09/18/2016 1:12 pm
Reply to  Gianna

in California no permission is needed. You must in writing notify them 24 hours in advance. IEPs are so involved and theres so many of the school staffs presence, this gives me the opportunity to be a thorough as necessary. I never sign IEPs until i take them home, in a calmer atmosphere, go over it, call SELPA if i have questions, then sign it.

11/02/2009 10:07 pm

On July 27, 2009, the OCR wrote regarding the high school not allowing us to tape a re-evaluation meeting: “This VDOE regulation was silent as to whether re-evaluation meetings may be recorded by either the parent(s) or school.”

11/02/2009 4:21 pm

What about videotaping? My school district refused it!