Supreme Court Denies Father’s Appeal to Video Record School Meetings about His Child

The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear a case involving a father seeking the right to video record school meetings about his child.

Scott Pitta was barred by the district from recording meetings with the public school regarding his autistic son’s Individual Education Program, USA Today reported.

On Monday, the high court made its decision to decline the Pitta family’s case.

The father felt that the written minutes of these meetings were insufficient.

However, the district declined to let him film the meetings.

Pitta sued the school district for the right to document the meetings as he saw fit.

His case has received the backing of libertarians and conservatives who believe the public has a right to record government interactions beyond just law enforcement.

“The average, day-to-day person doesn’t interact with the police department every day,” Pitta said.

“But they’ll interact with their local government, their school district several times throughout the year.”

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, schools are required to include parents in discussions about their children’s education plans, The Hill reported.

Pitta’s son had an IEP after he qualified because of his developmental disorder.

However, a dispute arose after school officials claimed that Pitta’s high school son no longer needed the IEP.

Pitta disagreed and decided he would record the interactions during a September 20, 2022, meeting.

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He explained that it was “because he did not trust that the Respondents’ own minutes would accurately reflect the relevant statements.”

Pitta was in a Google Meet video call with the district to figure out why his son was no longer going to receive services, according to the Goldwater Institution, which is representing Pitta.

When the concerned father said he was recording, the district abruptly ended the session.

“I don’t understand why the school district is so opposed to an accurate record of what they say,” Pitta said.

He further recounts that it’s been an ongoing “fight with the school district for the services our child needs” for several years.

The school offered to allow him to make an audio recording, but Pitta said it was “unsatisfactory” because the recording didn’t make clear who was speaking.

Pitta sued a little over a week after that incident, citing a violation of his First Amendment rights.

Pitta’s initial lawsuit was dismissed, and the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district’s ban on video recordings because there is no blanket provision in the Constitution allowing citizens to record government officials.

The appellate court said that “Pitta’s argument ignores established limitations in First Circuit law” that sets specific parameters to allow for recordings.

Video recording is only routinely permitted for “government officials performing their duties only in indisputably public places in full view of the public, and even then, only when the act of filming would not hinder officials in the performance of their public duties and would serve public interests.”

With the Supreme Court’s refusal to take the case comes an end to Pitta’s fight.

Adam Shelton, Pitta’s attorney from the Goldwater Institute, expressed how “disappointed” his client was in turning down his case.

“Refusing to allow parents to record a meeting with government officials about their own child in their own home violates the First Amendment,” Shelton asserted.

“We are disappointed the Supreme Court refused to hear this important case, but we will continue to fight in courtrooms and legislatures across the country to protect parental rights, including the right to record a meeting with school officials about their own child,” he added.

This may be the end of the road for Pitta’s particular case, but the matter is sure to resurface.

If the school district is doing everything by the letter of the law, it would help to have it recorded in the event of future disputes.

The fact that they won’t allow it is most telling.

READ MORE – Texas Dad Shoots Daughter’s Stepfather after Learning of Abuse

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By Nick R. Hamilton

Nick has a broad background in journalism, business, and technology. He covers news on cryptocurrency, traditional assets, and economic markets.

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