Wednesday, April 8, 2009

IEP Meeting Take....Never Mind

So we didn't have an IEP meeting.

This is due to the fact that we brought a tape recorder. The school district claimed that the tape recorder violated their privacy and refused to have the meeting if we were taping. We refused to turn the tape off. So we didn't have a meeting.

I just spent over an hour typing up an e-mail message that specifies under which laws and court cases in Washington state we are given the right to tape despite the school officials' non-consent. That was a whole lot of fun, let me tell you. We're supposed to meet with them AGAIN next week. Jer and I have yet to discuss whether we'll be bringing a tape recorder to that meeting, a stenographer, or just saying the heck with it and going straight to mediation.

I'd like to know what the heck they were planning on saying that they didn't want an audio record of.



Julia said...

Huh. I can't cite any relevant laws or policies, but I know that "take a tape recorder" is standard advice for problematic IEP meetings on the listenup parents group.

Julia said...

Just out of curiosity, I asked on the listenup group about the legality of taping IEP meetings. The only response I've gotten back so far is that you have to forewarn them so that they also have the option to tape, and the same person said that she always tapes IEP meetings, even when things are going well, just to keep everything honest and straightforward. I'll probably get more responses tomorrow when everyone's at work.

Anonymous said...

wow they are immature because you want the best for your son.

Michelle said...

Have you thought about taking an advocate with you to the IEP meeting? Speaking as a former deaf ed teacher, nothing puts people on notice like having an advocate with you that knows the law inside out (often they are parents themselves who have been through the process and have trained to help other parents and guardians._ You will get what you want that can be reasonably provided. They will show up with every "i" dotted and every "t" crossed. It sounds like you are better off for having brought the recorder. (Any time we had a parent whose native language was anything but spoken English, we were required to make two tapes... one for our files and one for the parent's records.)

Anonymous said...

Hi, veteran parent of MANY IEP's here and I tape every one of them. The only thing the district does to protect themselves is to have their own tape recorder and record of the the meeting.

I am not sure if I informed them at our first meeting (9 yrs ago) whether I would be taping or not, but I think I surprised them and we postponed the meeting until they could obtain a tape recorder.

Sometimes, the phrase "you catch more bees with honey" really does work and perhaps you could write to them and apologize for springing this on them, but you are not aware of any laws prohibiting this and if they could be so kind as to point them out to you, you would be eternally grateful. Also, suggest that they have their own record made of the meeting so that you both get to walk away with your respective records. I am not saying you actually have to mean the apology, but they don't have to know that. By playing hardball, things might get MUCH harder much too quickly and you are just at the beginning of your journey. Also, remember you can invite anyone you like to the meeting, so bring friends, medical professionals, therapists, anyone you can think of who is willing to sit on your side of the table. I have been to IEP's where it has been me, and advocate and 19 people from the district.

Connor's Mom said...

Wow! Thanks guys:

Julia: we kind of got this impression and thought it would be a good idea for both our own records and to keep the school in line. Basically, you can tape record without written consent as long as you make it clear to all parties that you are tape recording. So we can't hide the thing in our pocket, but if we put it out on the table and tell them we're recording, we're not violating any privacy laws. If you're interested, the laws and cases we cited in our e-mailed explanation were:

Wash. Rev. Code 9.73.030 (the key part here is (3) under that law)

State v Forrester, 21 Wash App 855; 587 P2d 179 (1978)

State v Bonilla, 23 Wash App 869; 598 P2d 783

Lewis v State Dept. of Licensing, 139 P.3d 1078 (2005)

State v Modica, 149 P3d 446 (2008)

Michelle: Good advice! We have an advocate we are bringing with us to the meeting, so we're good there.

Anonymous: Thanks for the advice! The school gave us at the meeting a quick print-out from a website meant for journalists on Washington privacy laws-- a print-out that specifically states it only is applicable for the law as it applies to journalists. Oh well. We told them we'd be taking the tape recording to a certified transcriber and that we'd be giving a copy of the transcript to them, but they said they had their own note-taker and so they didn't need it, and with the tape recorder in the room there would be "no discussion." I think we're rapidly reaching the point that being nice is no longer effective.

Of course, this school district, in the last ten years, has been through due process for IEPs FIFTEEN times. Those are the ones listed on the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), anyway.



Julia said...

Okay, I got back a very pithy response on listenup. At the risk of taking up lots of space here, I'm just going to cut and paste it. I've x'd out the name of the poster (we're not really supposed to share posts outside the list without permission). Also, you might know all this already. Finally, you have to take the spaces out of the url links for them to work. But here goes:
The OSEP position on recording IEP meetings is located at

http://www.ed. gov/policy/ speced/guid/ idea/letters/ 2003-2/redact060 403iep2q2003. pdf

which basically states that it is up to the local SEA and they can limit it however they want as long as they are not interfering with parental rights guaranteed under Part B.

From Wrightslaw

(http://www.wrightsl letters.iep. followup. doc)

Washington is also an "all parties consent" state. All parties generally must consent to the interception or recording of any private communication, whether conducted by telephone, telegraph, radio, or face-to-face, to comply with state law. However, Wash. Rev. Code § 9.73.030 states: "Where consent by all parties is needed pursuant to this chapter, consent shall be considered obtained whenever one party has announced to all other parties engaged in the communication or conversation, in any reasonably effective manner, that such communication or conversation is about to be recorded or transmitted: PROVIDED, that if the conversation is to be recorded that said announcement shall also be recorded."

(back to xxxx talking)

Unfortunately, there is an ALJ ruling in Washington state from upholding a district's right to refuse to allow parents to refuse to tape IEP meetings. In that case, the district has an agreement with the teacher's union stating that if a team member objects to the tape recording, that the meeting cannot be recorded.

http://www.k12. ces/adminresourc es/SpecEdDecisio ns/2003/Issaquah 133.03.pdf

This, of course, is not legal advice.

Jessica McGuffey said...

Hey Julia!

Thanks for the info. :)

In our case, the school district doesn't have any policy prohibiting the tape recording of IEP meetings, and couldn't give us a reason for not tape recording the meeting other than that we'd be "violating their privacy laws" Without a written school policy that says we can't tape, we should be allowed to tape.


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