I am often asked by parents whether they are legally allowed to observe their child’s educational program, or have their child’s evaluator observe a program for them.
The short answer is yes. Thanks to a 2009 amendment to state law, parents in Massachusetts have the right to observe their child’s educational program, as well as any educational program that a school district is proposing for that child. School districts cannot arbitrarily limit an observation or impose restrictions on the observer that are designed to unduly inhibit the observation (for example, by having a school wide “policy” that sets a predetermined time limit on all observations).
However, school districts are allowed to take actions necessary to ensure the safety of the children in a program being observed and to prevent the disclosure of confidential or personally identifiable information of students in the program.
Want to read more? Here are some useful links:
- To find the complete text of the observation law, please click here
- The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has issued a detailed advisory concerning this observation law, which can be found here
- To see how the BSEA interpreted the observation law in a case involving the Weymouth Public Schools in 2009, please click here