IDEA Complaint Decision 01-052

On June 22, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). The issues in this complaint are whether the district, regarding an individualized education program team meeting held on June 14, 2001, failed to provide proper notice to the parent; include as a participant a representative of the local educational agency (LEA) who is knowledgeable about available district resources; determine whether the child requires the services of an aide; determine whether the child needs additional services due to a lapse in occupational therapy services; and clarify the nature of the occupational therapy services to be provided as required in complaint decision #01-032. This is the departments decision for this complaint.

On June 14, 2001, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the childs IEP, determine continuing placement, clarify the nature of the occupational therapy services to be provided, and consider whether additional occupational therapy services are required due to a lapse in services. The childs mother also requested that the team consider the need for a special education aide to assist her son. The following IEP team participants attended the meeting: the childs mother, a special education supervisor serving as the LEA representative, the special education teacher, a regular education teacher, an occupational therapist, and the parents advocate. Department staff interviewed the special education supervisor who attended the meeting as the representative of the LEA. The LEA representative was knowledgeable about available district resources, as required.

An LEA must inform a childs parents who will be in attendance at their childs IEP team meeting. The LEAs method of notification of IEP team meetings may be oral or written, or both, provided the notification contains the required information, and the LEA keeps a record of its efforts to contact the parents. Here, the district contacted the complainant by telephone to schedule the IEP team meeting. The childs mother attended the meeting with an advocate. There is no record of the content of the oral notification of the IEP team meeting. The childs mother received a written notice for the IEP team meeting at the beginning of the meeting. The written notice, completed by the childs special education teacher, did not include the name or title of the occupational therapist who attended the IEP team meeting. The notice received by the parent was misplaced during the meeting. A second notice completed by the special education supervisor was included in the childs records, but not given to the childs mother. The district, during scheduled staff training regarding IEP team issues, will include training to ensure that when notifying parents of an IEP team meeting, the district indicates who will be in attendance at the meeting. Materials verifying completion of the training will be provided to the department by November 1, 2001. The district also will remove from the childs special education records the IEP team meeting notice written by the special education supervisor because it contains inaccurate information.

During the June 14 meeting, the childs mother requested that the team consider the need for a special education aide to assist her son. The IEP team did not consider whether the child required the services of an aide. After the June 14 IEP team meeting the childs mother called the district and requested an IEP team meeting to consider the childs placement and the need for a special education aide to assist her son. The district should grant any reasonable parent request for an IEP team meeting. The decision for complaint #01-032 relates to the child whose education is the subject of this complaint. That decision states that the childs mother, during the week of April 23, requested an IEP team meeting to consider the childs placement and the need for a special education aide to assist her son. The district was directed to submit a plan to ensure the requirements regarding holding an IEP team meeting when requested by a parent are met. On July 19, the department received a letter from the mothers advocate asking what the department would do to facilitate the district scheduling an IEP team meeting for the child. Department staff contacted the district on July 19 and 20, asking them to promptly review the parents request for an IEP team meeting and to schedule a meeting or notify the parent with the reason(s) for refusing to schedule the meeting. By letter dated July 24, the department directed the district to respond to the parent either by scheduling an IEP team meeting or notifying the parent with the reason(s) for refusing to schedule the meeting. In response, the district has scheduled an August 21, 2001, IEP team meeting for this child at a mutually agreed to time. The district also submitted a plan on July 27, for complaint #01-032, to address these requirements district-wide.

In decision for complaint #01-032, the department determined that the district did not provide the occupational therapy (OT) related services in the childs March 21, 2001, IEP and did not describe the services in a manner understandable to all involved. The IEP team meeting held on June 14 was conducted in part to consider additional services which may be required due to a lapse in services and to clarify the nature of the OT services to be provided. The OT services are clarified on page 3, section IV, of the childs June 14 IEP. Neither the IEP nor the notice of placement includes a statement documenting the IEP teams decision as to whether the child needs additional services due to a lapse in occupational therapy services. The district, during scheduled staff training regarding IEP team issues, will include training to ensure that district IEP teams, when directed to do so by the department, consider additional services which may be required due to a lapse in services and document the IEP teams decision. Materials verifying completion of the training will be provided to the department by November 1, 2001. At the August 21 meeting, the IEP team will review and revise the childs IEP; consider the parents request that an aide assist her child; consider additional services which may be required due to the lapse in OT services; document the IEP teams decisions; and determine continuing placement for the child. The district, no later than August 27, 2001, will provide the department with a copy of the IEP and the notice of placement developed during this meeting.

This concludes our investigation of this complaint.

//signed CST 8/20/01
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720