What type of Notice for an IEP Meeting Must the District Give Parents?
The district must take steps to ensure that one or both parents of a child with a disability are present at each IEP Team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate, including notifying parents of the meeting early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to attend; and scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place. 34 C.F.R. § 300.322(a).
This means parents have the right to refuse to attend an IEP meeting if the district did not provide parents ample time to get time off work, arrange childcare, or rearrange their schedule. Ample time is not less than a week, and best practices would be two weeks prior to the meeting.
The district is required to provide parents a “Notice of Meeting” and must indicate the purpose, time, and location of the meeting and who will be in attendance; and (ii) inform the parents of the provisions in the law relating to the participation of other individuals on the IEP Team who have knowledge or special expertise about the child. 34 C.F.R. § 300.322(b).
Parents should always check to confirm all IEP team members are documented on the Notice. If one of your team members is not reflected on the notice to attend the meeting, do not sign the notice and send an email to request to add that IEP team member. If that team member cannot attend the meeting, request another date when all team members can be in attendance.
Can the district hold a meeting without parents?
If neither parent can attend an IEP Team meeting, the district must use other methods to ensure parent participation, including individual or conference telephone calls or other alternative methods. 34 C.F.R. § 300.322(c).
However, a meeting may be conducted without a parent in attendance if the district is unable to convince the parents that they should attend. In this case, the district must keep a record of its attempts to arrange a mutually agreed on time and place, such as (1) Detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of those calls; (2) Copies of correspondence sent to the parents and any responses received; and (3) Detailed records of visits made to the parent’s home or place of employment and the results of those visits. 34 C.F.R. § 300.322(d).
Yes, the district could theoretically hold an IEP meeting without a parent if they gave ample notice, tried to find another date, allowed for other methods for parent participation, and kept very detailed records. I only see an IEP happening if a parent does not act in good faith in scheduling an IEP or if a parent flatly refuses to attend an IEP.
However, if the district does hold a meeting without the parent, the parent has the right to call an IEP meeting and review any changes or decisions that were made at the meeting the parent did not attend. At that time, the parent can dissent to the issues in which they do not consent.
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“Today is a pretty big win for my daughter and I, two years into the process, the district has finally agreed on a 1:1. Thank you Valerie and everyone else on this page for your wealth of knowledge and support! I know it’s not over, but it’s progress!” – Kris Kar