Can a school conduct an IEP meeting without a parent in attendance?

Published: June 23rd, 2016

Yes. An IEP meeting can take place without parental participation “if the public agency is unable to convince the parents that they should attend. In this case, the public agency must keep a record of its attempts to arrange a mutually agreed on time and place, such as: 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.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.322(d)(1)-(3)] It is important to note that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, of which Arizona is a part, has found in two cases that parental involvement in the IEP “creation process” requires schools to include parents unless they affirmatively refuse to attend, while clarifying that if a parent refuses to attend or is entirely unresponsive to the school’s requests to meet, the school has a duty to move forward with the IEP process. (Shapiro v. Paradise Valley Unified School District; Doug C. v. Hawaii Department of Education)