Yes. While federal special education law does not specifically address this question, in California, parents can audio record IEP meetings so long as they give the school district at least 24 hours notice in writing.
California Education Code §56341.1.(g) states:
(1) Notwithstanding Section 632 of the Penal Code, the parent or guardian or local educational agency shall have the right to record electronically the proceedings of individualized education program team meetings on an audiotape recorder. The parent or guardian or local educational agency shall notify the members of the individualized education program team of his, her, or its intent to record a meeting at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. If the local educational agency initiates the notice of intent to audiotape record a meeting and the parent or guardian objects or refuses to attend the meeting because it will be tape recorded, the meeting shall not be recorded on an audiotape recorder.
As a general rule, I advise my clients to audio record all IEP meetings. While some school districts do a good job of taking meeting notes, not all school districts do it. And for those that do take meeting notes, it's nearly impossible to notate everything that was discussed at the meeting. And like it or not, the designated notetaker invariably curates the meeting notes, choosing what's noteworthy and what's not. As a parent, you definitely don't want someone else deciding what's important and what isn't.
There is a lot of information dispensed in a short amount of time at IEP meetings. Much of what is discussed at IEP meetings is shrouded in educational jargon and special education acronyms, such as BIP, LRE, and the like. Recording the IEP meeting gives parents an opportunity to re-listen to the IEP discussion at their leisure and to make sure they understand everything that was discussed so they can effectively advocate for their child's education.
Other Related Articles:
The Complete Guide to Understanding FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education)
What Diagnoses Qualify for an IEP?
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