IDEA Complaint Decision 04-057

On November 19, 2004, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District (RUSD). This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district in October 2004 properly disciplined a child with a disability and properly changed the child's placement.

On September 2, 2004, the first day of school for students, the student attended the same elementary school she attended the year before on a full-day schedule with an individualized education program (IEP). The child's progress report record and IEPs document that the child's behavior was acceptable on the first few days of school with the frequency and intensity of behavioral incidents involving the student increasing in September and October.

On October 1, 2004, the child was removed from school for part of the day. On October 22, 25, 26, 27 and November 1 the child was suspended. The parent of a suspended minor must be given prompt notice of the suspension and the reason for the suspension. On October 21, the child's mother was sent a letter of suspension notice. The child's mother believed her child was suspended for three days. When the mother attempted to return her child to school, she was verbally informed by the principal that it was a five-day suspension. The notice indicates the suspension was for five days. The mother contacted the district's central office special education staff who assisted in returning the child to school.

On October 21, 2004, an IEP team met to review and revise the child's IEP, complete a functional behavior assessment with a behavior intervention plan, and determine continuing placement. The child's mother attended the meeting but left before the meeting was concluded. Positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports are included in the child's IEP. The IEP team decided to reduce the child's scheduled school day to two hours per day and a determination and notice of placement was sent to the child's mother. On November 22, an IEP team met to review and revise the child's IEP, functional behavior assessment with a behavior intervention plan, and determine continuing placement. The IEP team meeting was not completed. On November 23, the IEP meeting was reconvened and a determination and notice of placement issued for the IEP to be implemented at the school with the child's schedule increased to three and one-half hours per day. On December 6, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student's IEP, functional behavior assessment with behavior intervention plan, and determine continuing placement. The IEP team determined that the child would continue to attend school on the three and one-half hours daily schedule. The child's mother attended all the IEP meetings. These placement decisions were made based on the student's needs, which are documented in each IEP. An IEP team meeting to review the child's IEP is planned for February 2005.

School personnel may remove a child with a disability from the child's current placement for not more than 10 cumulative school days in a school year for any violation of school rules. This student was removed for fewer than 10 days in the school year for violations of school rules which apply to all students. The district changed the child's placement based on her needs, utilizing the IEP process. The district properly disciplined the child and determined the child's placement properly.

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

//signed CST 1/18/05
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