IDEA Complaint Decision 04-011

On March 22, 2004, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2003-2004 school year, followed required procedures when it suspended a child with a disability more than ten days during the school year.

On April 17, 2003, the district held an individualized education program (IEP) meeting to develop an annual IEP and determine placement. Attached to the April 17, 2003, IEP is a functional behavioral assessment and behavior intervention plan dated April 10, 2003. The child entered a different MPS middle school for the 2003-2004 school year.

The child was suspended from school on September 22, 23, 24, 30, October 1, 2, 16, 20, 27, 28, 29, November 3, 4, 25, December 10, 11, 12, 2003, January 13, February 13, March 11, 12, and 15, 2004. On October 29, 2003, the child's school removals exceeded ten cumulative days. According to the child's father, the district did not provide the child services on days of suspension after the child's school removals exceeded ten cumulative days. There is no evidence that the district met this requirement.

On November 4, 2003, the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise the child's IEP, conduct a manifestation determination, and review the April 10, 2003, functional behavioral assessment and behavior intervention plan. On November 10, 2003, the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise the child's IEP. On November 17, 2003, the child was placed on a half-day schedule. On December 12, the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise the child's IEP. On December 16, the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise the child's IEP, determine placement, and conduct a manifestation determination. In January 2004, the child attended a different school.

In addition to the suspensions discussed above, the child's father, grandmother and FACETS parent advocate state that the student was sent home from school at least two days per week by the school administration between October 2003 and January 2004. The school's discipline day record noting these removals as required by the district's consolidated corrective action plan (CCAP) was not provided to the department. The child's father and grandmother did not keep a written record of the administrative removals when the child was sent home. The district did not directly address this allegation in responding to this complaint. In the absence of other evidence, the department finds the allegation credible.

The corrective action plan for this complaint will include a review of the recent special education continuous improvement focused monitoring (CIRM) annual self-assessment in this building related to discipline requirements and a determination of appropriate remedial actions and supports. Department staff will continue to work closely with the district to assist in its review and implementation of the discipline consolidated corrective action plan (CCAP).

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 5/19/04
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