Audio Recording: Your Right To Record the Special Education IEP Meeting

Mandy Gina Leigh's Special Education Legal Blogs

Licensed for 14 years

Attorney in San Francisco, CA

Mandy Gina Leigh

Free initial consultation, Credit cards accepted

Serving San Francisco, CA

  • Serving San Francisco, CA

  • Free initial consultation, Credit cards accepted

Managing Partner at firm Leigh Law Group, P.C.

Serving San Francisco, CA

Free initial consultation, Credit cards accepted

While the IDEA, the federal laws protecting special education
rights, doesn’t specifically mention audio recording, California law does allow
audio recording of an IEP.  Each state
may have its own laws related to IEP audio recording.

Know that  in California
at least, you can audio record an IEP if you give the school district advance
notice (at least 24 hours notice in writing).  This can be helpful if you
are nervous about getting accurate notes of the meeting and if you want to
create a record of what was actually said.  It also can be helpful later
on if you get into a dispute with the district.  If you audio record the
IEP, the District can also audio record.

Audio recording of the special eduction IEP  is allowed in California.

California Education Code §56341.1.(g) states:

(1) Notwithstanding Section 632 of the Penal Code, the parent or
guardian or local educational agency shall have the right to record
electronically the proceedings of individualized education program team
meetings on an audiotape recorder. The parent or guardian or local educational
agency shall notify the members of the individualized education program team of
his, her, or its intent to record a meeting at least 24 hours prior to the
meeting. If the local educational agency initiates the notice of intent to
audiotape record a meeting and the parent or guardian objects or refuses to
attend the meeting because it will be tape recorded, the meeting shall not be
recorded on an audiotape recorder.

The audio recording
provisions of the Education Code incorporation provisions of federal law. The
code specifically protects the audio recordings under the Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act specifically incorporating confidentiality provisions
from the act. Any recording of an IEP that is maintained by the school as an
education record requires the school district to apply the protections of the
Family Educational Right to Privacy Act.

Additionally, pursuant to
the Family Education Rights And Privacy Act, the Code states that with respect
to the audio recording of the IEP meetings, parents have the following rights:

   (i) Inspect and review the audio recordings.

   (ii) Request that the audio recordings be
amended if the parent or guardian believes that they contain information that
is inaccurate, misleading,
or in violation of the rights of privacy or other rights of the individual with
exceptional needs.


Moreover, to the extent that
a school district has a policy about audio recording the IEP, that policy may
not be more restrictive than the rights to audio record pursuant to state law
and that policy must provide for exceptions to the extent that the audio
recording is necessary to comply with the parents right to understand the IEP
and make informed decision about the IEP and the IEP process.

Special education attorneys such as those at the Leigh Law Group provide practice tips about attending the special education IEP. The audio recording of an IEP is not automatic and depends on state law and school policy. The audio recording of an IEP in California is allowed providing that notice is provided at least 24 hours in advance of the IEP. 

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