4 Parenting Tips to Avoid School Districts Attorney at Special Education IEP Meetings

Are you the parent of a child with autism or a learning disability? Are you a single parent who sometimes feels intimidated by special education personnel, at IEP meetings? Have school personnel told you that they will be bringing their attorney to your child’s next IEP meeting, and you are upset? Some special education personnel state that they want their attorneys at IEP meetings, to try and intimidate parents, and have them not ask for additional services. This article will give you 4 easy to use parenting tips, to help you prevent your school district, from bringing their attorney to your child’s IEP meeting.The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is silent, on any attorney’s at IEP meetings, parents or school districts. But if the school district has an attorney at an IEP meeting and the parents cannot afford an attorney, then the parent will not be able to be an equal participant in the IEP process.Tip 1: Once you are notified that the school’s attorney is coming to your child’s IEP meeting, notify them in writing that you will be canceling the meeting. Also tell them your reason for canceling the meeting (cannot afford an attorney and feel that I would not be an equal participant), and that they do not have your permission to have the meeting without you. This last part is important, so that if they have the meeting, you can file a state complaint and ask that everything done at the meeting be thrown out, because the meeting was illegal.Tip 2: After you have canceled the meeting, go to the Department of Educations Web site at ed.gov, and type in Special Education in the box. Once you get to special education, in the Search box put “OSEP policy letter to Hillary Clinton July 23, 2001.”The letter was written by Hillary Clinton asking whether it is appropriate for a district to invite its attorney to IEP meetings. OSEP answered Hillary’s letter by stating that: School districts can invite people that have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child. However ever if the attorney possessed knowledge about the student, his or her presence would have the potential of creating an atmosphere that would not be in the child’s best interest. . .Therefore the best interest of the child compelled OSEP to strongly discourage attendance of attorneys for school districts at IEP meetings.Tip 3: Write another letter to your school district and include copies of the Hillary Clinton Policy Letter on School Attorneys at IEP meetings. Ask them to reconsider their decision to bring their attorney to your child’s IEP meeting. If they will not reconsider go on to Tip 4.Tip 4: File a state complaint with your state department of education, stating that your school district is violating IDEA, by not allowing you to be an equal participant in your child’s IEP. Special education personnel are doing this by inviting their attorney to your child’s IEP meeting. The state has 60 days to complete the complaint. Send in copies of all letters, to and from school personnel, as well as the Hillary Clinton Policy Letter with your complaint.I actually had this happen to me several years ago. I told the special education person that I would be canceling the meeting. After thinking about it, the school district changed their mind about having their attorney come to my son’s IEP meeting. The meeting was held without the presence of an attorney.By using these 4 easy to use tips, you will be able to advocate for your child to try and prevent the school district, from bringing their attorney to your child’s IEP meeting. Good Luck, the fight is worth it!