IDEA Complaint Decision 03-031

On July 1, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Appleton Area School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2002-2003 school year:

  • Ensured staff were informed of their responsibilities for implementing portions of the child's individualized education program (IEP);
  • Provided supplementary aids and services included in the student's IEP;
  • Responded properly to parent requests to have their child's IEP revised; and
  • Properly determined the extent to which the child would be educated with children who do not have disabilities.

The parents allege two regular education teachers were not aware of their responsibilities for implementing portions of their child's IEP by November of the last school year. They state that even though a school memo listing the students with disabilities was sent to the teachers, it did not ensure that all teachers carried out their required IEP responsibilities. The district maintains all teachers with IEP responsibilities were informed in writing that the complainant's child was a student with a disability and staff had access to his IEP. The teachers also had direct contact with the special education teacher regarding their specific IEP responsibilities.

The parents contend because the two regular education teachers were not informed of their IEP responsibilities they did not provide the child with the supplementary aids and services as required by the current IEP. Specifically, "time extension, tests read orally, study guides, and editing of written work at teacher/student request" were only provided when the child made the request. The district maintains the teachers implemented the supplemental aids and services. Each teacher indicated in a written statement they had implemented the supplemental aids and services. Numerous e-mails between the parents and staff members support the district and teacher positions. The department concludes the district ensured the teachers knew of their responsibilities under the IEP and the supplemental aids and services were provided as required by the child's current IEP. However, as an additional measure to ensure and document that teachers are informed of their specific IEP responsibilities, the district is requiring all teachers to participate in a sign-off procedure stating they have received the required IEP information for each student for whom they have a responsibility.

The parents maintain on November 17, an e-mail was sent to the special education teacher requesting an IEP team meeting to revise their child's IEP. On December 9, an informal meeting was held. The parents indicate they were not satisfied with the results of the informal meeting because the IEP was not revised and their concerns regarding accommodations were not resolved. The special education teacher stated that no revision was made to the IEP, but a verbal agreement was reached resolving the parent concerns. On March 30, 2003, the parents requested in writing another IEP team meeting, which was held on April 24, followed by a subsequent IEP meeting on July 23. The district did not properly respond to the parents' first request for an IEP meeting. To ensure that staff members properly respond to parent requests, the district will provide written guidance to staff indicating how they should respond to parents who request an IEP team meeting and the proper procedures when a parent request is denied.

The parents claim the district prevented their child from accessing the least restrictive environment (LRE) by not informing them of the option to place their child in team taught classes for the 2002-2003 school year. The IEP team meeting was held on May 8, 2002, and the parents attended. The district maintains the IEP team discussed how the child's needs would be met in the regular classroom and in the Resource Assigned Study Area. This discussion included his daily schedule, supplemental aids and services provided through the regular education environment, and program modifications and supports for school personnel. The team discussed a range of supplementary aids and services and selected those appropriate for the student. The team considered placing the student in the special education environment for more than one class hour but concluded one class was appropriate. The team also considered team taught regular education classes but concluded that the supplemental aids and services in the student's IEP were appropriate. The department concludes the district correctly applied the required procedures related to placing the child in the LRE with students without disabilities.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 10/27/03
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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