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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Conducting an IEP Team meeting without a parent in attendance (Sec. 300.322(d))

Comment: Many commenters recommended that Sec. 300.322(d) retain paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(3) in current Sec. 300.345, which provide examples of the types of records a public agency may keep to document its attempts to arrange a mutually agreed upon time and place for an IEP Team meeting. These examples include detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of those calls; copies of correspondence sent to the parents and any responses received; and detailed records of visits made to the parent's home or place of employment and the results of those visits. A few commenters stated that removing these provisions violates section 607(b) of the Act.

Discussion: We agree that these provisions are important to encourage parent participation in the IEP process, which is an important safeguard for ensuring FAPE under the Act. We will, therefore, add the requirements in current Sec. 300.345(d)(1) through (d)(3) to Sec. 300.322(d).

Changes: We have added the requirements in current Sec. 300.345(d)(1) through (d)(3) to Sec. 300.322(d).

Comment: One commenter stated that parents who do not participate in IEP Team meetings when the school has made good-faith efforts to include them should be sanctioned.

Discussion: There is nothing in the Act that would permit sanctioning a parent who does not participate in an IEP Team meeting, nor do we believe that it would appropriate or helpful to do so. Sanctioning a parent is unlikely to engender the type of active participation at IEP Team meetings that would be desirable or helpful in developing, reviewing, or revising a child's IEP.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter recommended that the regulations make explicit that the LEA can move forward and hold an IEP Team meeting without the parent, if notice has been provided consistent with Sec. 300.322(a)(1) and (b)(1), and the parent does not participate. The commenter recommended that this requirement be consistent with the parent participation requirements for placement meetings in Sec. 300.501(c)(3) and (c)(4).

Discussion: Section 300.322(d) explicitly allows a meeting to be conducted without a parent if the public agency is unable to convince the parent to attend. The requirements for parent participation in IEP Team meetings in Sec. 300.322, and placement meetings in Sec. 300.501 are consistent. Section 300.322(d) states that an IEP Team meeting may be conducted without a parent in attendance if the public agency is unable to convince a parent to attend the IEP Team meeting. Similarly, Sec. 300.501(c)(4) provides that a group, without the involvement of the parent, may make a placement decision if the public agency is unable to obtain the parent's participation in the decision. In both cases, the public agency must keep a record of its attempts to obtain the parent's involvement.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter expressed concern that allowing school districts to hold IEP Team meetings without parents could increase the over-representation of African American children placed in special education.

Discussion: Section 300.322(a) requires a public agency to take steps to ensure that one or both parents are afforded the opportunity to participate in an IEP Team meeting, 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. Section 300.322(c) requires the public agency to use other methods to ensure parent participation if neither parent can attend an IEP Team meeting, including individual or conference telephone calls. Only when a public agency is unable to convince a parent to participate in an IEP Team meeting may the meeting be conducted without a parent. We disagree with the implication in the comment that parents of one race are less likely to participate in IEP Team meetings.

Changes: None.

Comment: Many commenters recommended retaining current Sec. 300.345(e), which requires the public agency to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the parent understands the proceedings at an IEP Team meeting, including arranging for an interpreter for parents with deafness or whose native language is other than English. Some commenters stated that current Sec. 300.345(e) is protected by section 607(b) of the Act and, therefore, cannot be removed.

Many commenters acknowledged that there are other Federal laws that require public agencies to take appropriate measures to ensure that parents understand the proceedings at an IEP Team meeting, but stated that not all stakeholders are aware of the applicability of those other protections in IEP Team meetings. Several commenters expressed concern with the removal of current Sec. 300.345(e) stating that other Federal laws are not enforceable at special education due process hearings.

Discussion: We agree that current Sec. 300.345(e) is an important safeguard of parent participation for parents with deafness or whose native language is other than English. We will, therefore, add the requirements in current Sec. 300.345(e) to the regulations.

Changes: We have added the requirements in current Sec. 300.345(e) as new Sec. 300.322(e), and redesignated the subsequent paragraph as Sec. 300.322(f).