IDEA Complaint Decision 02-020

On March 20, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the North Crawford School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2000-2001 school year, failed to:

  • At least one year before the student attained the age of 18, inform the student of the transfer of parental rights at age 18;

  • Observe notice and parental participation requirements when the district developed the January 2001 individualized education program and changed the placement of the student; and

  • Address the vocational needs and transition services of the student as identified on the IEP.

On April 19, 2000, an IEP meeting was held to review/revise the youth's IEP and develop a transition statement. The mother contends that although her son was 18 years old, neither she nor her son were informed of the transfer of parental rights at the age of majority. The district indicated that on page 2 of the IEP where directed to "specify how the student and parents have been informed of the rights which will transfer to the student at age 18 if no legal guardian has been appointed:" they responded "Given students' rights to student in class and discussed options at that time." The student did not attend the IEP team meeting. According to district staff the student met the following day with his special education teacher. At this time he was given a brochure titled "On Being 18" and participated in a discussion of his rights as well as other items discussed the day before at the IEP meeting. District staff maintain that information on the transfer of rights was given to the parent and discussed at the IEP meeting. The district is required to notify the individual and the individual's parents of the transfer of rights on reaching the age of majority. The district has complied with the requirement of IDEA.

The mother contends that on January 13, 2001, an IEP team meeting was held during which decisions were made about her son's special education programming and placement. She stated that she was neither invited nor informed about the meeting and that at this meeting it was determined that her son would not be eligible for graduation in May 2001 due to insufficient credits. According to district staff the meeting held on January 13, 2001, was a planning meeting held at the high school to prepare a draft of an IEP for an upcoming meeting and to develop a proposal for assisting the student with meeting the graduation requirements. District staff stated that the proposal was never approved or implemented due to ongoing attendance problems that the youth was having. The meeting held on January 13, 2001, was not an IEP meeting and the district was not required to include the parent or provide parental notification.

The mother maintains that there was a lack of communication between the district, her son, and herself regarding what was required in order for the youth to meet the goals specified in his transition plan and graduate in May 2001. She stated that the lack of communication resulted in her and her son not being informed that he would not graduate until she received a letter on May 3, 2001, notifying her that her son would not graduate on May 18, 2001. District staff verified that there was a lack of communication between the district, the youth and his mother regarding his progress toward graduation credit completion and transition goal attainment. The IEP developed at the April, 19, 2000, meeting included transition goals that addressed the youth's post high school educational needs. Staff have stated that due to the youth's frequent absences transition goals were not met and progress toward goals was minimal. They also stated that the youth's sporadic attendance made it difficult to predict if he would complete the semester with enough credits to graduate. District staff verified that an annual IEP meeting was not held in April 2001, because the youth had not been attending school and indicated that he intended to withdraw from school when he turned 19 on March 21, 2001. The youth continued attending school until June 6, 2001. On August 30, 2001, he signed a request to withdraw from school and dropped out of high school.

The district is required to hold an annual IEP meeting for a student with a disability. Additionally, an IEP team must review a student's IEP an appropriate amount of time prior to graduation to determine whether the student will meet graduation requirements and when the student is anticipated to graduate. The district is directed to contact the youth and his mother within 10 days of receiving this decision and offer the youth the option of re-enrolling in high school. If the youth chooses to re-enroll, the district is directed to immediately develop an IEP for the student that includes transition goals, graduation credit requirements and an anticipated graduation date. The corrective actions taken by the district are to be submitted to the department within 30 days of receiving this decision.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 5/31/02
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