Taping Your Team Meeting

1.  Massachusetts Special Education, state law or regulations, does not address recording meeting.  There aren't many state that has enacted legislation regarding taping of Team meetings.  (The only states we aware of  are New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon.)

2. There are several references under IDEA (Federal law), one is in  IDEA 97, Appendix A, (Appendix A, is a user friendly Q&A of the Federal Register. )
Question/answers  # 21, p. 12477:

 "May IEP meetings be audio or videotape recorded?"

"IDEA (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.  Therefore, an SEA or public agency has the OPTION to require, prohibit, limit, or otherwise regulate the use of recording devices at IEP meetings. 

If a public agency has a policy that prohibits or limits the use of recording devices at IEP meetings, that policy must provide for exceptions if they are necessary to ensure that the parent understands the IEP or the IEP process or to implement other parental rights guaranteed under Part B. An SEA or school district that adopts a rule regulating the tape recording of IEP meetings also should ensure that it is uniformly applied.

Any recording of an IEP meeting that is maintained by the public agency is an "education record," within the meaning of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"; 20 U.S.C. 1232g), and would, therefore, be subject to the confidentiality requirements of the regulations under both FERPA (34 CFR Part 99) and Part B (§§300.560-300.575).

Parents wishing to use audio or video recording devices at IEP meetings should consult State or local policies for further guidance."

3. IDEA (Federal law) does dictate that the committee must make "reasonable  accommodations" to assist the parent/advocate in the development of your child's IEP.  If you are denied the "privilege" of recording the meeting, you would remind them of  your individual needs and their obligation to accommodate your individual needs.

4. It is recommend that you call your Team liaison a few days before your Team meeting and let them know you plan to tape the meeting.  Be prepared to give your reason.  Federal law states that "the purpose of the Team meeting is to develop, review, and revising the IEP of a child with a disability." 34 CFR 303.343 (a).

In our state regulation, it says: "Team shall mean a group of persons, meeting participate requirements of federal special education law as provided at 34 CFR 300.344 and 300.552, who, together, discuss evaluation results, determine eligibility, develop or modify an IEP or determine placement." 603 CMR 28.02 (22)   

Therefore, the question to the team members "objecting" might be: "Can you tell me how NOT taping this meeting will help ensure that IEP be developed as we decide at this meeting?"

5. Check your school policy regarding the taping of meetings.  If you have a disability, you can explain to the Team how your disability effects you in the meeting.  One example would be if you have trouble recalling all of the points of that were discussed, without taping the meeting.  Having a note from your doctor regarding your disability would be strong documentation to that fact (possible civil right violation, if denied).

6.  Come to your Team meetings with your "Parent draft of the IEP" already written (with the important information you think should be documented in the IEP.) It's recommend to distribute it to all the members before the meeting and use it as the basis for discussion.  It is amazing how much can be accomplished in a Team meeting when both the parents and school personal come in with draft of IEP.

7. You can bring two tape recorders with you to the meeting, (one for you and one for them.)  This eliminates the need for them going to try and find one and wasting valuable meeting time.

8. Don’t be intimidated, if the school personal tell you that "it is not necessary".  You can ask "Not necessary for who?".   How can it hurt to have a voice recording of what was actually said.

9. When taping remember to state the time the place the purpose of the meeting and who is present and etc. This way they know you are serious.

10. You can always offer to duplicate a tape for them, their tape record can not be located or if it is not working.

11. After your Team meeting, you can go home with all your notes you wrote during your meeting (or the tape), and type them up,  and send a copy to everyone at the meeting.  You would want to do this as quickly as possible, so the school receives them before they start typing up your child's IEP. This is what is also know as a "Letter of understanding" and it's a recap of the meeting that can eliminate misunderstandings.  If your notes are good, they might use your notes instead of their own.

12. If the school system says "no" to taping, stop the meeting and ask the person who is saying no to please contact his or her supervisor and have them fax the school policy and the reason why you cannot tape the meeting. (If you can get this person to say on tape, why they are refusing, it is wonderful documentation to have on tape.)

13. If you tape from your first Team meeting, they will come to except it and if you need the tapes you have them.

Wrightslaw law website has an article on How and Why to Tape Record Meeting.

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One of our original webpages, created September 10, 2002, by Melody Orfei
Webpage last modified on February 2, 2015 - V9, by Melody Orfei
mel3sons@gmail.com