Coordinating an IEP meeting is sometimes not an easy task for school staff. However, that does not affect the district’s responsibility to convene a valid IEP team with the required members present. Unfortunately, many parents are faced with an IEP meeting where all the required members of the IEP team cannot attend or cannot stay for the full IEP meeting. The ability of the IEP team to develop an appropriate IEP may be severely compromised if IEP team members critical to the development of the IEP are absent. In addition, going forward with your meeting, without the required IEP team members, may affect the validity of your child’s IEP, especially if you and the school district disagree at the IEP and a due process hearing is requested.
Your decision on how to handle this situation must be made on a meeting-by-meeting basis. Here are several options that you should consider:
- Contact your district special education administrator in writing (with a follow-up telephone call) at least one week before the meeting to let her know you are concerned. Emphasize in your communication with the school district that you want to make sure that appropriate decisions can be made at the meeting and time is not wasted for you or school staff;
- Attend and go forward with the IEP meeting. Do not agree to those portions of the IEP that need input from missing IEP team member(s). Then, reconvene the meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and place with the needed IEP team members in attendance to finish developing the IEP; or
- Refuse to continue the IEP meeting if the members of the IEP team not in attendance are necessary for appropriate decision-making. Then, reschedule the IEP meeting for a time when all required team members are able to attend.
[34 C.F.R. Sec.300.322; Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56341.5.]