Yes. Schools must give enough advance notice for parents to have the opportunity to attend their child’s ARD meeting. They must also schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and place.
If you receive a notice that your child’s ARD meeting has been scheduled at a time when you are not available to attend, let the school know as soon as possible. Explain why you can’t attend (perhaps a work or family commitment). You may also want to give the school some alternate dates and times when you can attend.
Keep a record of this correspondence. It’s important to show you’re cooperating with the school to set up the ARD meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and place. The school may hold an ARD meeting without a parent. But that only happens if the school can show that it couldn’t persuade the parent to attend. That’s why it’s important to keep a record of the efforts you’ve made to schedule the ARD meeting.
If you can’t attend the ARD meeting in person, and if you agree, then the school may include you via phone call or video conferencing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, your child’s school may be conducting virtual ARD meetings in the place of in person ARD meetings.
What does the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) say?
Sec. 300.321 IEP Team (a)(1)
(a) General. The public agency must ensure that the IEP Team for each child with a disability includes—
(1) The parents of the child;
Sec. 300.322 Parent participation (a)
(a) Public agency responsibility—general. Each public agency must take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents of a child with a disability are present at each IEP Team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate, including—
(1) Notifying parents of the meeting early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to attend; and
(2) Scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place.
What does the Texas Education Code say?
RULE §89.1050 – The Admission, Review, and Dismissal Committee (d)
(d) The school district must take steps to ensure that one or both parents are present at each ARD committee meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate, including notifying the parents of the meeting early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to attend and scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and place. Additionally, a school district must allow parents who cannot attend an ARD committee meeting to participate in the meeting through other methods such as through telephone calls or video conferencing. The school district must provide the parents with written notice of the ARD committee meeting that meets the requirements in 34 CFR, §300.322, at least five school days before the meeting unless the parents agree to a shorter timeframe.