On May 12, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Washburn Public Schools. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2004-2005 school year, properly implemented the behavior intervention plan (BIP) for a student's individualized education program (IEP).
An IEP team meeting was held on September 27, 2004, with the purpose of IEP review and revision and placement. Under special factors, it was determined that the student's behavior did impede his learning and that of others. A BIP was incorporated into the IEP as an attachment. Documentation on the BIP addressed a general approach related to complying with the directive for making problem behaviors ineffective. Steps included giving the student time to process the directive, questioning the student to determine if he understands the directive, giving choices of what or how the student will comply, and giving options of replacement behaviors available to the student. The BIP also states that if [the student] hurts someone he will spend time in the office or be sent home depending upon the severity of the incident as determined by special education personnel and/or the principal. The student's father is to be called to inform him of the situation.
On April 20, 2005, the student engaged in hitting behaviors with another student in early afternoon. Following the hitting incident, the sixth grade teacher informed the student that since the student had hurt someone, he was to spend time in the office or be sent home according to the behavior plan before the student could join the physical education class. The district reports that the student used loud, disrespectful language and started to go down the hall and all the way around the lunch room before sitting at a lunch table. The teacher followed the student instructing him to go to the office. The student entered the office yelling and kicked and broke the pencil sharpener.
The district administrator, who was substituting for the building principal, was in charge of disciplinary issues that afternoon. The student left the room and went out into the hallway. The district administrator followed the student sitting beside him and talking calmly to him. The student was given the choice to come back and sit in the principal's office or remain in the hallway. The student went to the principal's office. The student then took turns reading aloud with a second student in the office. The district administrator had to leave for a few minutes to check on another student. Upon returning, the student was going through papers on the principal's desk. The district administrator asked him to stop and to return to where he had been sitting. The student refused. The student was given a choice to sit down or his father would be called. The student failed to comply and the district administrator had the secretary call the father. The father came to the school and picked up the student.
The parent alleges that the behavior intervention plan was not followed after this incident, in that he was not called until later that afternoon and that the student was not given time to deescalate. The BIP emphasizes that if the student hurts someone that the student would spend time in the office or be sent home depending upon the severity of the incident as determined by special education personnel and/or the building principal. The student was sent to the office. The BIP further indicates that "the student's father will also be called to inform him of the situation" The BIP does not specify that the father was to be called immediately or identify who will inform the father. School personnel gave the student options and called the father when necessary as stated in the BIP. There is no mention in the BIP of procedures that give the student time to deescalate when the behavior involves the student hurting someone although it appears the student was given time to deescalate enroute to the office and while in the office. The district implemented the BIP.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
//signed 7/7/05 by SJP
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy