Yes, a parent has the right to bring a lawyer to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. The IEP is a legally binding document outlining the special education services and accommodations a student with a disability is entitled to receive. Parents are an important part of the IEP team and have the right to be involved in developing, reviewing, and revising their child's IEP.
If you are a parent and you want to bring a lawyer to an IEP meeting, you should inform the school district in advance. The school district may also have the right to bring its own lawyer to the meeting.
An IEP meeting is a collaborative process; the goal is to agree on the student's education plan. Bringing a lawyer to an IEP meeting may not be necessary in all cases, but it may be helpful if you are having difficulty reaching an agreement with the school district or feel your child's rights are not being adequately protected.
Overall, it is up to the parent to decide whether to bring a lawyer to an IEP meeting based on their specific circumstances and needs. An experienced lawyer can provide legal representation and advice to help protect the rights of the student and advocate for the best possible education plan.
All parents want their children to receive an education that works best for them. For parents with children with special care needs, that means developing an Individualized Education Program with the learning institution.
This typically happens in an Individualized Education Program meeting involving parents, therapists, special education advocates, and counselors. In some cases, the meeting can include a special education attorney.
What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meeting?
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting is a meeting of a student's IEP team, which includes the student, the student's parents, teachers, and other school personnel. The purpose of the IEP meeting is to develop, review, or revise the student's IEP.
During an IEP meeting, the IEP team may discuss a wide range of topics, including:
- The student's current levels of academic achievement and functional performance
- The student's needs and goals in the areas of academic, social, emotional, and physical development
- The special education and related services that the student will receive, including any accommodations or modifications that may be necessary
- The roles and responsibilities of the various members of the IEP team
- The evaluation and assessment procedures that will be used to measure the student's progress
- The transition plan for students who are approaching the age of majority or transitioning to postsecondary education or employment
If a parent disagrees with any part of the IEP, they have the right to request a due process hearing to resolve the dispute.
What are the Reasons for Bringing a Special Education Attorney to an IEP Meeting?
Attending a meeting without a lawyer can make the conversation adversarial. If you are content with the services your child is receiving and have a good relationship with the school district and IEP team, you might not have to consider bringing your New York special education lawyer to the meeting.
On the other hand, if you feel the school is not telling you something about a particular accommodation your child should receive, speaking with a lawyer before the meeting can ensure that these matters are addressed in a productive manner.
When to Not Bring a Special Education Attorney to an IEP Meeting
While bringing your lawyer to the IEP meeting can be beneficial, an attorney does not have the authority to deal with the school outside a due process complaint. If you hire an attorney, the school district can refuse to meet with you directly and communicate with your respective lawyers.
However, it is advisable to get in touch with a lawyer before the meeting so you can work with your child's school district to develop a plan for your child.
Get Help from Our New York Special Education Attorneys
Mizrahi Kroub understands how confusing and stressful IEP meetings can be if you feel like your child's school isn't on your side. Contact us today to schedule a consultation if you need help knowing whether you should bring a New York special education lawyer to your child's IEP meeting.