Banning recording of special ed plan meetings not OK with everyone

By Jim McCabe on November 20 at 1:31pm

There is opposition to a District 117 plan to ban the recording of special education meetings between parents and administrators.

The board of education held a second reading of a policy last night that would prevent the taping of meetings for Individualized Education Plans for students. District administrators maintain there was no local precedent for the move, but that they’re adopting a recommended policy by the state.

Education advocate Lonnie Johns urged board members not to adopt the policy.

“Parents should have a right to tape their own child’s IEP meeting so that accurate information is contained so that parents fully understand what happens,” Johns says.

“These are hard things for a parent. There are a lot of technical terms, there are a lot of complicated things, and it’s better for the student. It’s better for the parent. It’s better for the IEP for the parent to completely understand what happened.”

Johns, who has been a critic of District 117’s special education policies, says the idea of banning recordings is a gray area, legally speaking.

“The federal government has varied its opinions. On the one hand, it said local school boards can regulate this; on the other hand, it says these are public officials acting in official capacity,” he says. “Therefore, the parent has every right to expect [accountability] from public officials.”

Exceptions would be granted for parents who have a disability or language barrier.  District 117 assistant superintendent Carol Kilver calls the policy a guiding path for how school district employees will work with families who want to record.

“The option may be to record it if it is a true need, but then we also want to make sure that we have the ability to not interfere with the integrity of that process, which is to move forward a very good plan for students who have special needs,” says Kilver.

She says there haven’t been many instances where the request to record an IEP meeting has been an issue. Several parents have expressed a desire to see meetings recorded to WLDS-WEAI News since our original story aired last month.

The board of education will take a vote on the policy at its next meeting.