IDEA Complaint Decision 03-057

On December 12, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Janesville. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district properly responded to a parent's requests to have a particular district staff member submit a report regarding her child's educational needs and participate in an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting at the end of the 2002-2003 school year.

On June 5, 2003, the IEP team met to determine continuing eligibility and to review and develop the annual IEP. Because the student was transitioning to middle school, the team consisted of staff from both the elementary school and the middle school. Present at the meeting was a school social worker who the parent felt had worked successfully with the student at the elementary school. During the meeting, the parent stated that she was disappointed that the social worker had not prepared a report. District staff then asked the social worker to prepare a summary of strategies that had been successful. After submitting the report in October, 2003, the social worker was asked by administrative staff to include more specific recommendations. A revised report was provided in November, 2003, and it is included as part of the student's record. The district was not required to make the social worker's summary available at the June 2003 IEP meeting or at a subsequent IEP meeting. The social worker had not administered a test or assessment as part of the student's reevaluation, and therefore, was not required to make available a written summary of findings at a team meeting.

The social worker attended the June 2003 IEP meeting, but the district did not include her as a participant during the fall 2003 IEP team meetings. The social worker was not included because she did not work at the middle school and no longer worked with the student. At one of the IEP meetings, the parent asked if middle school staff could meet with the social worker to discuss what strategies had worked in the past. In response to this request, middle school staff met with the social worker in October. District staff stated that the parent did not request that the social worker attend an IEP meeting, and that they would not have denied such a request. The social worker also confirmed that she was not asked by the parent to attend an IEP meeting, and that district staff never told her that she could not attend a meeting, or otherwise precluded her from attending. Therefore, the district was not required to include the social worker as a participant on the IEP teams which met in the fall.

This concludes our review of this complaint, and we are closing this complaint investigation.

//signed CST 2/6/04
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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