IDEA Complaint Decision 03-051

On November 25, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district:

  • Properly determined the student's placement for the 2003-2004 school year; and
  • Between September 2 and October 20, 2003, improperly excluded the student from school and did not implement her IEP.

In August 2003, the student and a private agency staff person met with MPS central office staff regarding what school the student would attend for the 2003-2004 school year. The student was assigned to North Division High School. However, the student's records provided to the department do not include a notice of placement for September 2003. On September 2, 2003, the first day of school for students, the student attempted to enroll at North Division High School but was sent home. On September 3, the student and private agency staff person attempted to enroll the student; however, staff responded that they did not have the paperwork required. On September 8, the student was enrolled at North Division High School after central office staff sent an e-mail message to the high school. The private agency staff person provided the guidance office secretary a copy of the student's April 2003 IEP. However, the student was not placed in a special education classroom nor provided the services in the IEP following her enrollment in school.

On September 9, the private agency staff person requested an IEP team meeting for the student. On October 10, an IEP team met to review and revise the student's IEP, develop a transition statement, functional behavior assessment, behavior intervention plan, and determine continuing placement. The IEP team meeting was not completed. On October 15, the IEP meeting was reconvened and a determination and notice of placement issued for the IEP to be implemented at another school. An IEP team meeting was scheduled for November 13 at that school to review the student's IEP and conduct an intake meeting. However, this meeting was never held and the student never attended the school. On December 5, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student's IEP, develop a transition statement, functional behavior assessment, behavior intervention plan, and determine continuing placement. A determination and notice of placement was issued for the IEP to be implemented at North Division High School on December 10, 2003.

The district did not determine the student's placement using proper placement procedures and did not provide services to the student consistent with her IEP during the frist semester. On December 5, the IEP team determined the student is in need of additional services due to lapse in service during the 2003-2004 school year. The specific services to be provided will be determined during an IEP team meeting planned for late January 2004. The district must send the department a copy of the student's IEP with documentation of the team's decision by February 13, 2004. The district is in the process of implementing procedures to ensure that placements are determined properly and IEPs implemented for all children with disabilities. Department staff will continue to work closely with the district.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/SJP 1/29/04
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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