Bill allowing recorded meetings in public schools moves closer to House

3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 4:42:00 PM CST January 26, 2020 in News
By: Marisa Rios, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - A bill that would allow parents to record meetings with their child's educators is moving forward in the state legislature.

Parents fighting for the bill to pass are specifically advocating to record Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings for children with special needs.

On Monday, House Bill 1540 is expected to go through administrative oversight. That's the last step before the bill moves to the House. 

Missouri Disability Empowerment President Robyn Schelp said this is the first year for the bill to be filed into legislation, and is moving rather quickly.

"I think we are really shocked that it had the momentum it had," Schelp said. "Parents locally here in Columbia want to be able to record their children's IEP and 504 meetings. We realized this was a systemic issue. We started to hear parents from different areas."

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, said he is almost certain the bill will be debated on the House Floor this week. He said he is pleased with how quickly the bill has moved. 

"I'm very pleased," Basye said. "I'm wanting to get this moving and to the Senate as quickly as possible." 

Back in December, Basye told KOMU 8 the main reason for the recordings is to be able to refer back to what was discussed in the meetings. He added that IEP meetings could last hours with lots of information that makes it hard for parents to follow. He said a record of these meetings would help parents go back and listen or discuss. 

Schelp said there is a lot of support from parents and city leaders. 

Parent and member of MoDE Sara Rivera said her son's IEP meetings are very overwhelming. 

"There's a lot of technical words that are used," Rivera said. "If I went home with a recording, I can take out snippets of it and say, 'We are going to listen to this and we are going to discuss what this means.' The goal is to go forward year-by-year."

Rivera said she thinks it is awesome the bill is moving forward.

"I think it really speaks to the fact this is our right as parents to be able to record our kids' meetings, so we can help them to the best of our ability," Rivera said. "I think it is very encouraging that the legislators believe that this is our right as well."

Another parent and member of MoDE, Michelle Ribaudo, said she used to record these meetings when she lived in Ohio. She said she was able to record meetings there for two of her three children who needed them. For Ribaudo, it's a different story here in Missouri.

"My daughter was struggling. She was throwing up before school, she was crying everyday, and she was hiding in the bathroom at lunch and recess," Ribaudo said. "It really just put her through a lot just by not having that recording when we could've just listened to it. The bill has nothing to do with problems with educators at all. It's very much just trying to help the parents and help us understand what's happening."

With the bill moving closer to the House, Ribaudo said she is excited. She said there would be so many relieved parents.

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