Can a Parent Bring a Lawyer to an IEP Meeting?
Your child has been underperforming in school and assessed to be eligible for special education services known as IEP (Individualized Education Plan).
As the parent, you’ve been invited to a meeting alongside the special education team, therapists, counselors, etc., to create a plan containing programs and services that’ll help bring out the academic best in your child.
But you can’t help but think:
Can and should I bring a lawyer to the IEP meeting?
The short answer is Yes.
Legally, you are permitted to bring your own special education lawyer to an IEP meeting. But the question is, should you?
In some instances, the school may try to recommend programs without considering your input.
Also, you may feel like you don’t understand the whole process and need someone to explain everything to you. Or you may feel the school’s recommendation is not the best for your child.
A special education lawyer can prevent disagreement altogether and resolve issues before they escalate. An attorney will also ensure that due process is followed and everything is handled appropriately.
Sometimes, it isn’t necessary to bring a lawyer to the meeting, but you can still have one present if it makes you more comfortable.
If your opinions are being listened to and everything is being done to ensure your child receives the best support, you may not need to have a lawyer physically present.
However, a special education lawyer can still help you prepare for meetings without being present.
What other things can a special education lawyer do to help?
Review documents and relevant materials before meetings.
Evaluate previous IEPs to determine what’s working and what isn’t.
Together with you, strategize and create an initial plan that reflects your wishes and goals for your child.
Help review an IEP before you sign if you don’t feel good about it.
Can you bring in a lawyer in the middle of or after an IEP meeting?
If you feel an IEP meeting could have had a better outcome, it is within your rights to request another meeting. And if things suddenly go awry during a meeting, you can also stop it, reschedule and notify them you’ll have an attorney present in the next meeting.
We understand that IEP meetings can be overwhelming, stressful, and confusing for any parent. It shouldn’t be. After all, you’re only trying to get the best for your child. Contact the experienced Neubia L. Harris for guidance through the process or if you have any questions.