IEP Meetings: Can You Record Them?

“I asked a friend to videotape an IEP meeting involving my son, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the school told me this is against the law,” one reader tells us. “I am a visual learner, and I wanted to watch it to make sure I remembered all the points teachers made. Why can’t I do it?”

Recording IEP meetings, with a tape recorder or a video camera, is not necessarily against the law, but it requires that the school district must consent to it, and its administrators must be permitted to record the meeting themselves. Most school officials and teachers are reluctant to have such sensitive meetings videotaped.

Some attorneys recommend taping a meeting, but I think it is a mistake, unless there has been a significant factual dispute with the school in the past. From my experience, the school will think you suspect it of being untruthful, which sets the stage for an adversarial relationship. Take notes instead, or assign the task to a special-education advocate or a friend. After the meeting, write down everything that took place and who said what at the table. Put it into a diplomatic, but assertive, letter, which also thanks everyone for their time, and send a copy to the school district a couple of days later.