When you attend an IEP meeting, there are often a lot of school employees at the meeting. Who are these folks and why are they there? The legal answer is fairly simple(1) – certain school employees be attend the IEP meeting, including at least one regular education teacher, at least one special education teacher, and someone who can interpret the evaluations used in making the IEP. Additionally, a district employee who knows the potential special education placements within the district and knows the general education curriculum must be there. Finally, someone who can commit the district to implement the plan needs to be at the meeting. A district does not meet its obligations by submitting a potential IEP to higher officials for review and approval because that would defeat the purpose of the IEP meeting, which is to create a plan to implement.
In practice, there are an overwhelming number of people working for the school district in the room during the IEP meeting. Having that many people in the room can be stifling because you interrupt the flow of the meeting with every question. But you are a co-equal member of the IEP team. You know your child better than anyone else in the room. Give yourself permission to politely but firmly make suggestions or ask why the district proposes a particular goal or service. The district must consider alternatives, even if it decides not to implement them.(2)
(1) 20 U.S.C. ∫ 1414(d)(1)(B)
(2) Greer v. Rome School Dist., 950 F.2d 688 (11th Cir. 1991)