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Derrick: I am the stepparent of the child with autism. I was wondering who is allowed at the IEP meeting legally? Some members are hostile.

    • No. School union members are not members of the child’s IEP team and do not provide special education services so they have no “right to know” the contents of a student’s IEP.

  1. We privately enrolled our child in a recreational program that rents space from the school district a few years ago. Can the school add the teacher from this parent co-op as a general ed teacher on the notice of meeting if we tell them not to? The teacher isn’t employed by the district, isn’t licensed, and isn’t actually being told that the meetings are occurring.

  2. Can the executive director of a charter school attend the IEP meeting? He attended another child’s IEP meeting and demanded that some information the parents wanted to be documented, be removed. The CSE rep side with him.

  3. I have a youth in care with DCFS. She does not have a foster parent and we cannot get in contact with the GAL. The youth’s IEP is due soon and the case worker has agreed to attend the meeting. My distrcit rep said this is against the law. Is that true? What should I do if the GAL will not get in contact with me and the case is in danger of going out of compliance?

    • Hi Stokes, You wrote “I have a youth in care with DCFS”, she does not have a foster parent, you can’t contact the GAL, that the caseworker agreed to attend the child’s IEP meeting, but “My district rep said this is against the law.”

      NOTE: A guardian ad litem (“GAL”) is an attorney appointed by the court to investigate a case and report its findings and recommendations to the court. The GAL’s investigation, report, and recommendations are based upon the best interests of the child.

      What is your role in this? Are you employed by Child and Family Services? The child’s school district? Other? Is the child a ward of the state? Is the parent involved? What happens when you attempt to contact the GAL?

      It isn’t against the law for a caseworker to attend an IEP meeting as long as the school understands the limits of her role, that s/he is not acting on the parent’s behalf. Re: contacting the GAL. Make a log to document your attempts to contact him/her – date, time, method of contact (email, TC, etc), outcome. If the GAL doesn’t respond, you have evidence of your attempts – that will protect you from any danger of being “out of compliance.”

  4. The father of my 14 year old was invited to an IEP meeting, he hasn’t had contact since last June, court says he may ask of education but not make decisions, did the school have right to invite him without permission

    • The school is required to let you know who will attend the IEP meeting. The school does not have to request your permission or bow to your wishes to exclude the child’s father.

  5. Can the school have legal consult attend the meeting even after I stated I do not want their legal consult present

    • Yes. Parents, & the school have the right to invite people that can provide information & input to assist in making decisions.

      • Where exactly in the federal code does it state this? I want to be an ‘informed support person’ for my friend at her son’s upcoming meeting and feel I will need to provide the school with this info. Thank you!

  6. I have asked that my child’s Ed Tech be invited to meetings, as they work directly with my child every day (in school and virtual). This request has been repeatedly denied with the statement “we do not all Ed Tech’s to participate in meetings and it is the responsibly of his teacher and/or case manager to facilitate all conversation.” In actuality, our child attends all mainstreamed classes with the Ed Tech present, as class support for all. While not a 1:1, they are together all day, everyday and have a seemingly great relationship. No only has our meeting request been denied, we have been asked to forward all communications through the teacher, who has limited access and contact and often information is delayed or third hand. If IDEA allow parent invites, how can this be denied.

    • As a school employee the district can legally say no. However, you can make reasonable requests – AT person come for a short period of time; participate virtually; provide written responses to questions you provide. This way you can say that you know his time is valuable, but you still feel his input is valuable & needed. I suggest making the written request to the principal & special ed director.

  7. I recently attended my son IEP Team Meeting. His mother, who no longer has legal or physical custody arrived unexpectedly, with an entourage. She is contentious and is actually outspoken against my son receiving an IEP. I have been given sole discretion regarding all things IEP related. I did not speak out about her presence in the meeting but had expressed to the director earlier in the month both verbally and in writing that I did not want her to attend. I was forced to sit next to her which definitely interfered with my ability to participate without extreme distraction. Further to that, some very sensitive, personal and private topics were openly discussed regarding my son. I feel that his privacy was violated. please advise and Thanks.

  8. in the state of Louisiana I am trying to have an advocate attend the IEP intervention meeting to see if my daughter can get approved for the testing. The school is stating I am not allowed to have anyone on the phone during this meeting. I already asked to show me a memo or state law stating I am not allowed to have an advocate over the phone. DO you know if that is true or not? Can I have someone on the phone as an advocate from out of state?

  9. My school is saying I can’t attend my sons IEP meeting cause I am banned from school grounds!! Can they keep a parent from IEP meeting

    • Parents are to be part of the IEP team, so the school should try to work with the parent. I suggest contacting the district special ed director, & requesting that an arrangement be made where you can be present. Options – meet away from the school (public library, another campus, or administration building) or participate by phone or skype. Make your request in writing for documentation.

      • Is there a part of the law that can be cited when school refuses to allow mom on property (won’t even write/email so forget about conference call) and they are out of time for rescheduling and dad is new to IEPs

        • Look at IDEA regulations, 300.501(c) & 300.322 322 say schools “must take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents…are present at each IEP Team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate”

    • The parents can invite whoever they want. There is no law to say who they can or cannot bring with them.

      • I have not been allowed to attend any meetings at the school they act like I am not in charge they are because I got my nephew out of Foster care after my mother who had him since birth passed away. I have requested several times to have a meeting and if they could provide resources to deal with our situation. Nope nothing they called me one time and told me they were retaining my child in kindergarten. I don’t know what to do! Help

        • Christine, it appears that they do not think you are the legal guardian of your nephew. Often states have rules about who represents a child in foster care. If you have not tried working with the foster care agency, I suggest you do so. Also every state as a parent training and information project. They can give you information and support.

    • Patti – turn to Chapter 2 in your Wrightslaw: All About IEPs book – on page 9. This chapter advises “Do not go to the IEP meeting alone.” You’ll find a whole chapter about IEP Teams and Team Meetings. On page 12, check the section on “People with Special Knowledge and Expertise” about who a parent can invite to the IEP meeting. You’ll find the citations for both IDEA and the Federal Regulations. Or, for the citations in your Special Education Law book see pages 101 and 247. The information you need is in both of these references. Let us know when you have the answer.

  10. Derrick –

    Both the parents and the school can invite to the Team meeting individuals who have “knowledge or special expertise” regarding the child. The inviting party determines that the person being invited has that knowledge/expertise.

    So basically the school can invite whomever they want (unless it would violate your child’s privacy under IDEA or FERPA). With whomever they invite, they must notify you in advance.

    There ARE some things you can do to change the tone of the meeting. If IEP facilitation is available in your are, that may be a good option. Teams are often better behaved when bad behavior will be witnessed by someone outside the Team. Your local parent center can help you figure out if this option is available (

    If it’s not (or the school doesn’t agree), invite in another outsider. You can invite a friend, and tell the school they’ll be there for note taking and moral support (rather than to advocate – which may put the Team even more on guard). Or invite someone higher up in your district’s food chain, like the special ed director.

    Your parent center can likely offer addition suggestions and support!

  11. Sadly, the law reads something along the lines of people with knowledge of the child as invited by the parents, or District. My experience is that typically some members of the school staff are hostile hen I successfully advocate for my child. I assume that I was messing up their budget. I never found a way to excluded anyone so I stopped trying and tried to learn to not let it bother me.

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