033-12 Secondary Transition: Consent for Inviting Participating Agency Representatives
Are school personnel required to obtain written consent from the parent to invite a participating agency representative to an IEP meeting before they invite the agency representative?
Yes, the local school division must acquire written consent from the parent (or a student who has reached the age of majority) for each agency that is invited to attend an IEP meeting to discuss the provision or payment of transition services. (34 CFR § 300.321(b)(3); corresponding Virginia Regulations at 8 VAC 20-81-170 E.1.h). The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provides the rationale and context for this mandate:
[Parent consent] was included in the regulations specifically to address issues related to the confidentiality of information. Under section 617(c) of [IDEA] the Department must ensure the protection of the confidentiality of any personally identifiable data, information, and records collected or maintained by the Secretary and by SEAs and LEAs pursuant to Part B of the Act, irrespective of the requirements under FERPA. We continue to believe that a public agency should be required to obtain parental consent (or the consent of a child who has reached the age of majority) before inviting representatives from other participating agencies to attend an IEP Team meeting, consistent with § 300.321(b)(3). We do not believe that the requirements in § 300.321(b)(3) are inconsistent with § 300.321(a)(6). Section 300.321(a)(6) permits other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child to attend the child’s IEP Team meeting at the discretion of the parent or the public agency. It is clear that in § 300.321(b)(3), the individuals invited to the IEP Team meeting are representatives from other agencies who do not necessarily have special knowledge or expertise regarding the child. In these situations, we believe that consent should be required because representatives of these agencies are invited to participate in a child’s IEP Team meeting only because they may be providing or paying for transition services. We do not believe that representatives of these agencies should have access to all the child’s records unless the parent (or the child who has reached the age of majority) gives consent for such a disclosure. Therefore, we believe it is important to include the requirement for consent in § 300.321(b)(3).”
[Analysis, Federal Register, 2006, p. 46672]
Further, OSEP responded to an inquiry regarding how often a school division is required to obtain consent for participating agency representatives to attend an IEP meeting:
“. . . a separate consent must be obtained from the parents or a child who has reached the age of majority for each IEP Team meeting . . . before a public agency can invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition service to attend the meeting. “
[Letter to Gray, 50 IDELR 198, OSEP 2008]
Consequently, for each meeting in which the LEA wishes to invite an outside agency, it must obtain a new consent prior to issuing an invitation to an agency.
Practice Tip: Since it is difficult to schedule outside agencies’ participation at meetings, it may be helpful to designate certain dates on which the LEA will attempt to hold meetings that require their participation. An LEA may arrange for the participation of an agency for an unidentified student as long as written consent is received prior to revealing to the agency the student’s name or other identifying information. This will give the LEA some flexibility in obtaining written consent prior to the meeting without delaying the scheduling of outside agencies’ participation.