To tape record or not and how…
by Allan Roth, Consultant, Alliance Resources and Associates, Inc.
In our office, we suggest all parents tape all IEP meetings. The best method is to use a digital tape recorder with fresh batteries. Ideally, you have all of your files digitized and will have your computer with you for both notetaking and fast reference to any needed files. If not, you should have your files in chronological order and tabbed for fast reference. But, I digress. Whichever method you use, you will have your files in front of you and either Word or a note pad in front of you. When you sit down, turn on your tape recorder and keep it running until you leave the room; even if someone says the meeting has ended, as many key things are said after an IEP has officially ended.
But wait, what about telling the district about recording the meeting. The ed code says you must give at least 24 hours notice before recording a meeting. We suggest you do two things, in case an “emergency/short notice” meeting happens and there isn’t 24 hours notice available. First, on the first day of school, send an email to your child’s case manager and CC yourself (this is very important) and simply state, “Due to the complicated nature of IEP meetings, I intend to tape record any and all meetings.” Sign, date and email to the Case Manager and yourself. Second, when you get notice of an IEP meeting, either on the form or in a new email, again tell them, “I intend to tape the upcoming IEP meeting and any future IEP meetings.” Be sure to send it via email and to cc yourself.
Notice in the above directions, you are ‘telling’ not ‘asking’ and you are staying short and to the point. Second, you are using the cc in the email as that will provide you with a copy that is marked by the Internet and confirms it was sent in a timely fashion; which is not accomplished by simply printing the email from a sent folder.
Tape recording an IEP meeting should not be a threatening action; but it can be a clear piece of evidence of a formal request or an agreed upon service/action that does not get written down or implemented. So, tape all meeting in a polite and professional manner.
We suggest the Olympus brand digital recorders; one that will download to your computer so that you can store them on a CD or Flash Drive and always put fresh batteries in for every meeting, as you don’t want them to run out when you need them the most.
Allan Roth, Consultant
Alliance Resources and Associates, Inc.