One of the tools in the Toolbox is Leadership at the Non-Consensus ARD Meeting. We call this one Tool #9 (of ten). The Toolbox is a full day training program focusing on the legal issues when students with disabilities violate the Code of Conduct, or otherwise cause disruption in the school. Many times these issues have to be addressed in an ARD meeting. Those meetings can be contentious. Leadership is needed.
So we want to make you aware of a case from Arizona. The school held an IEP Team meeting in November, 2012, and established a two-hour time limit on the meeting. The student’s mother was present, along with two advocates. One of the advocates informed the Team that she could not stay past the allotted two hours. Sure enough, the Team was not finished with its work when the two hour mark was met. The advocate suggested that the Team should adjourn for now, and reconvene at a later time. The district’s administrative representative at the meeting rejected that suggestion. Instead of adjourning, the Team completed its work on the IEP even though the parent and advocates had left. The district’s representative was concerned about the fact that the existing IEP was about to expire. So the Team completed its work, but also told the parent that they would re-convene to address any concerns and/or to make amendments to the IEP. And they did that. The parent participated in the later meeting and the Team incorporated parental input into the IEP.
However, the parent alleged that she was denied the right to “meaningful participation.” The court disagreed, holding that the district did not infringe on the parent’s right to meaningful participation in the IEP Team process. Key Quote:
While IDEA is particularly protective of the parents’ right to participate in the child’s IEP…in this case, the District acted reasonably in protecting Parents’ rights.
You can have a time limit for your meetings, as long as it is done with agreement, and takes into account concerns expressed by the parent. Here, the district demonstrated reasonableness, which is always a key to success in a legal dispute.
The case is Pangerl v. Peoria USD, decided by the U.S. District Court for Arizona on February 15, 2017. We found it at 69 IDELR 133.
DAWG BONE: THE UNWRITTEN RULE—THE COURT IS ALWAYS EXAMINING THE REASONABLENESS OF THE PARTIES.
Tomorrow: a principal, a nude selfie, a hacker. You don’t want to miss this one.