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IEPs and Confidentiality: Who Should Have a Copy of the Child’s IEP?

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At a recent workshop, the presenters stated that teachers have the right to have copies of their students' IEPs in the classroom. Is this right? How can confidentiality be maintained if the teachers have copies of IEPs?

Isn't giving teachers copies of IEPs a gross violation of the confidentiality of students with special needs?


confused woman


From Wrightslaw:

You have several good questions.

Most children with special education needs receive most or all their education in regular education classes. They are taught by regular education teachers. In the past, many regular education teachers did not know that any of their students had IEPs, or what the IEPs required. As you can imagine, this led to big problems.

When Congress reauthorized IDEA, they made changes to the IEP process. The law requires that at least one of the child's regular education teachers is a member of the IEP team. This teacher will participate in developing the child's IEP, including:

  • determining appropriate positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies; and
  • determining supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and support for school personnel. 20 USC Section 1414(d)(3)(C)

As a member of the child's IEP team, the regular education teacher is also required to participate in the review and revision of the child's IEPs." (20 USC Sec. 1414(d)(4)(B))

If the child's teachers don't know what’'s in the IEP, they can'’t provide services, accommodations, modifications so all the child's teachers must have a access to the child's IEP.

The federal special education regulations clarified that IEPs must be accessible to all the child's teachers and service providers.

(d) Accessibility of child's IEP to teachers and others. Each public agency (school) must ensure that --

(1) The child's IEP is accessible to each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related service provider, and any other service provider who is responsible for implemening it, and

(2) Each provider and teacher is informed of --

(i) His or her responsibilities related to implementing the IEP; and

(ii) The specific accommodations, modifications and supports that must be provided for the child in accordance with the IEP. (34 CFR 300.323(d))

The school is responsible for ensuring that all teachers have access to the child's IEP. In our training programs, we often suggest that parents make copies of their child’s IEP and provide a copy to each teacher.

This doesn’t mean the child’s IEP should be public knowledge.


You may be interested in other articles about the legal requirements for IEPs.

Your Child's IEP & Progress in the General Education Curriculum

IEPs for Children with Behavior Problems

Can the IEP Team Prepare a "Draft IEP" Before an IEP Meeting?

Does a Child Need an IEP AND a 504 Plan?



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