Secret Data Collection is Not Okay


Communication issues between parents and schools are an unfortunate reality in special education. In this episode of the Special Education Inner Circle Podcast, I share an example highlighting how secrecy and mistrust from either parents or teachers can undermine the parent-teacher relationship.

Imagine, as a parent, reaching into your child’s backpack thinking you’re going to find a homework paper and instead, you discover a folder containing detailed behavior data about your child that was collected without your knowledge. 

How would you feel? Disappointed? Angry? Frustrated? Blind-sided?
Yes, to all of the above!

*Note: Listen to the full podcast episode to see what behavior was being tracked and why. You might be surprised!

Rather than engage the parent in an open conversation about how to better support her daughter, the school team documented incidents in secret, likely to justify a placement change. 

Special Education Strategy: While assertive measures may occasionally be needed, ideal solutions come from empathy, honesty, and bridge-building on both sides. Parents can request documentation on IEP implementation and take their own data. Educators must involve families early in decision-making processes, despite past grievances. Open communication about what’s working and what’s not working is critical to solving special education struggles.

We know kids thrive when parents and schools collaborate effectively. Hidden agendas from anyone undermine trust and teamwork. As caring adults, we must choose understanding over mistrust and partnership over secrecy. 

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