The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to take up a case centering on whether parents have the right to record meetings with their child’s school district about special education services.

Scott Pitta recently appealed to the high court after a federal appeals court determined that school officials could prohibit him from video recording a virtual meeting about his son J.J.’s individualized education program, or IEP.

At issue is whether parents have a First Amendment right to “record government officials in the performance of their duties.”

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The case, Pitta v. Medeiros, originated after a 2022 IEP meeting with the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District in Massachusetts that was held via Google Meet. Concerned that school officials had left important information out of the minutes from previous meetings, Pitta indicated that he was video recording the session. At that point, school officials terminated the meeting in line with their policy against video recording.

Pitta sued alleging that his First Amendment rights had been violated. But both the federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit dismissed the claim because the government officials in question — school employees — were not operating in a “public space” or having discussions that would typically occur publicly.

“Pitta’s argument ignores established limitations in First Circuit law, which permit recording of 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,” reads the appeals court decision issued in January.

In appealing to the Supreme Court, Pitta argues that circuit courts across the country are split on this issue and a national standard is needed.

“If successful, by the time we go through all of this, it’s not going to matter. Our son will be off to college by then,” Pitta said in a video produced by the conservative Goldwater Institute, which is representing him in the case. “This is absolutely a crucial fight for parents out there, for parents of children with special needs. … If we win at the Supreme Court, then we have fought for and affirmed the rights of parents across the entire country.”

The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District did not respond to a request for comment on the case.

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