IDEA Complaint Decision 02-046

On July 2, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2001-2002 school year, failed to respond in a timely manner to the complainants' requests for copies of their child's education records.

The complainants allege that, on September 24, 2001, they requested copies of their child's educational records that would be discussed at an IEP team meeting on October 1, 2001. The complainants further allege that the documents they received in response to that request did not include records related to extended school year (ESY) services for their child. The complainants made additional requests for copies of their child's educational records during the 2001-2002 school year. The complainants informed the department that they received copies of educational records on March 5, 2002, and did not receive copies of the ESY documents until June 22, 2002.

In its response to the complaint, the district acknowledged to the department that it failed to provide the complainants with all of their child's educational records in a timely manner following their requests for the records. The district informed the department that it sent the complainants copies of educational records related to ESY services on June 4, 2002. The district informed the department that it has now provided the complainants with all of the child's educational records maintained by the district. The department concludes that the district failed to provide the complainants with copies of all of their child's educational records in a timely manner. Because the complainants have now received copies of all of their child's educational records maintained by the district, the department will not require child-specific corrective action.

In its response to the department, the district proposed corrective activities to ensure that special education and school administrative staff are aware of the requirement to provide parents of a child with a disability, on request, access to their child's educational records without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP or a due process hearing and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made. The department approves the district's plan to publish information related to the requirement to provide parents with timely access to their child's educational records in the next issue of the district's Disabilities Digest and to distribute it to all special education services staff and school administrative staff by September 15, 2002. The department directs the district to submit the language to be published in the Disabilities Digest to the department for approval by August 15, 2002, and to provide the department with a copy of the Disabilities Digest following publication, as well as documentation of its distribution to required staff by October 1, 2002.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 7/17/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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