IDEA Complaint Decision 02-017

On March 11, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Madison Metropolitan School District. The issue is whether the district, on or about February 28, 2002, failed to implement the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability regarding disciplining the youth. This is the department's decision regarding the complaint.

The student, who is the subject of this complaint, is a 20 year-old student with a disability attending LaFollette High School. The student works part-time off school grounds. He rides the city bus to his job site from school and back. He is accompanied by a special education assistant (SEA) 100% of the time to help keep him on task and to assist him when he is non-compliant. For the past two years, the student has had problems with smoking in inappropriate places such as school and public bathrooms. He has also exhibited unsafe behaviors with matches, lighters, and cigarettes.

On February 27, 2002, while working at his job site, the student attempted to take matches from a drawer following his lunch break. He was observed and asked to stop by the SEA. The SEA reported the student then began swearing at her and continued his attempts to take matches from a drawer. According to the SEA, this incident continued with the student becoming more agitated and swearing loudly and intermittently at her for 15 minutes in the presence of his co-workers. Upon returning to school, the student's SEA reported this incident to the 12th grade principal.

The parent maintains she was called by the principal and informed of the disciplinary action being taken by him in response to the incident report filed by the SEA. He stated he was reporting the incident to the school's security officer and having the officer issue a citation to the student for disorderly conduct. He also stated the student would not be allowed to go to work that day but would wash tables at school instead. The principal told the mother to pick up the student from school immediately and that her son would be held in the detention room until she arrived. The mother contends she then asked the principal to follow the procedures in her son's behavior intervention plan regarding in-school detention but he refused to do so. She also maintains the principal was not aware of her son's behavior intervention plan (BIP) or his responsibility for implementing the plan.

District staff has verified that the principal was not aware of the student's BIP or his responsibility for implementing the plan. The student's case manager was primarily responsible for implementing the plan and was the only one fully aware of all procedures. Since she was absent, procedures were not followed. The district has acknowledged it must ensure that all designated staff members responsible for implementing a student's IEP, including a BIP, are made aware of procedures and their respective responsibilities for following procedures. The district has taken corrective actions to address this problem. At the annual IEP review meeting for the student held on April 14, 2002, his BIP was revised to include more specific details on how discipline was to be handled and who, in addition to the case manager, was responsible for implementing the plan. The district administration has also issued a directive to the case manager to meet with the assistant principal and other designated staff members with responsibilities for implementing the student's BIP to review the plan, discuss procedures for implementation, and inform each person of their respective responsibilities for implementing the plan. No further corrective action is required in this case.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 5/9/02
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