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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

Accommodations for Parents Who Want to Record Every Word You Utter

By now, every school system should have a regulation or policy in place for taping IEP meetings. If you do not have one, you should develop one. But what about taping conversations that are not IEP team meetings? 504 meetings? Individual conferences with teachers? Telephone conversations? Meetings held between a therapist and a parent to discuss assessment results prior to the IEP team meeting? Meetings with the school principal to discuss the suspension of a student? Based on a recent finding by the Office for Civil Rights, it seems that OCR now requires that such a regulation or policy be in place if you are going to restrict taping by parents who claim that they have a disability requiring taping. What OCR does not appear to recognize is that the school system gets to pick the reasonable accommodation to be provided. Plus, taping is not an appropriate accommodation for every disability. Someone with a processing disorder may be better served by a written summary of a meeting rather than a tape recording. Also consider the retaliation angle: a parent who has filed a complaint against a school system and now wants to tape every conversation may claim that the refusal to allow the taping is retaliation for filing the complaint. Without a regulation or policy showing a consistent manner of responding to taping requests, you may be hard pressed to defend your decision not to allow taping.

Therefore, decide what you want your taping regulation or policy to state and then contact your counsel to review it for legal sufficiency.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
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