IDEA Complaint Decision 02-003

On January 7, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Madison Metropolitan School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2001-2002 school year, failed to include complainant in determination of placement at the December 5, 2001 individualized education program (IEP) team meeting and improperly changed the placement for a child with a disability.

On October 23, 2001 a meeting was held to review/revise the IEP and determine placement for the parent's son, whose disability is other health impairment. Due to a medical condition the student has frequent school absences. The parent attended this meeting and agreed with the placement decision.

On December 5, 2001 a meeting was held to review/revise the IEP and determine continuing placement for the parent's son. The parent was unable to attend this meeting. The district is required to ensure that the parent of a child with a disability is a member of any group that makes a decision on the educational placement of the child. A placement decision may be made by a group without the involvement of the parent if the district is unable to obtain the participation of the parent in the decision and has a record of its attempts to ensure the involvement of the parent. The December 5, 2001 IEP documents that a written invitation was sent to the parent and phone calls were made in an attempt to schedule the meeting at a mutually agreeable time. The documentation indicates that the second call was responded to with a voice mail message from the parent stating that she was unable to attend the meeting but that the district should proceed without her. During the meeting the IEP team reviewed child specific information and determined that the student would benefit from an increase in the amount of time spent interacting with students without disabilities. The IEP was revised and the placement was changed.

The parent maintains that she was not aware that a placement determination was being made at this meeting and she was not in agreement with the change in placement. The written invitation sent to the parent indicated that one purpose of the meeting was to determine continuing placement. District staff state that they informed the parent of the purpose of the meeting. They also point out that the time span for placement was discussed at the October 23, 2001 IEP meeting, and that the placement documented on the IEP was for a four week period and needed to be reviewed at the next meeting. The IEP team based its placement decision on information available at the time.

On January 24, 2002 another meeting was held to review/revise the IEP and determine continuing placement for the parent's son. The mother, the child's father, and the child attended this meeting. The mother asserted that some of the information presented and discussed at the December 5, 2001 IEP meeting was inaccurate. She presented additional information to the IEP team. Based on a review and discussion of all child specific information it was determined that there was a need to reduce the amount of time during which the child would be educated with students who do not have disabilities. The IEP was revised and the placement was changed. It was determined that this plan of service would be reviewed every four weeks. The parent agreed to this plan. The district has complied with state and federal special education laws related to determining educational placement for a child with a disability.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed 3/11/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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