IDEA Complaint Decision 06-002

On January 17, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2005-2006 school year, properly disciplined a child with a disability.

On June 7, 2005, the district held an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting to develop an annual IEP and determine placement. The IEP team determined that the student would return to his assigned building on a full day schedule with daily transportation at the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year.

According to the parent’s phone log, the child was sent home from school for discipline reasons 18 days between September 21, 2005, and February 6, 2006. Generally, the parent was called mid-morning to pick her son up from school and would get to the school about an hour later. During the time the student was waiting for his mother or grandfather, he would sit in the office, counselor’s office, or classroom. There is no record of IEP services provided to the student while he waited in an office; however, staff sometimes talked or walked with him while he waited.

Only two of the days are reported on the student’s attendance record as out-of-school suspensions. District staff suggested that the classroom teacher may have sent the student home early without referring the student to the office first, thus accounting for the discrepancy between the parent’s and district’s records. It is contrary to school procedures for a teacher to send a student home without first contacting the office. The teacher no longer is employed in the district. According to the student’s mother and district staff, the district did not provide the student services on days of removal after October 27, 2005, when the student’s school removals exceeded ten cumulative days.

On November 4, 2005, the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise the student’s IEP, develop an annual IEP, and determine placement. The November 4 IEP includes positive behavior interventions, an individual education/health plan, and refers to a behavior management plan in the supplementary aids and services section of the IEP. However, a behavior intervention or management plan and functional behavioral assessment are not part of the IEP. Between December 2, 2005 and January 9, 2006 the student was hospitalized. On January 5, 2006, the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise the student’s IEP, review the student’s behavior and schedule and determine placement. The January 5 IEP includes positive behavior interventions, a functional behavioral assessment, and behavior intervention plan including a one-on-one assistant and reduced schedule of 3 hours and 20 minutes. On February 7 the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise the student’s IEP, determine placement, review the student’s behavior, schedule, central office hearing, and conduct a manifestation determination. The team determined that the student would attend a different school beginning February 13.

On October 27, 2005, the student’s school removals exceeded ten cumulative days. The district did not provide the student services on days of suspension after October 27, 2005. Although the district held an IEP team meeting on November 4, within ten business days of October 27, the team did not plan and conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and develop a behavior intervention plan (BIP) to address the student’s behavior as required. On January 5 an IEP team meeting developed an IEP which includes positive behavior interventions, a functional behavioral assessment, and behavior intervention plan. According to the student’s mother and district staff, the district did not provide the student services on days of removal after the student’s school removals exceeded ten cumulative days.

By April 21, 2006, the district must conduct an IEP team meeting to determine whether the student needs additional services as a result of not receiving services on days of disciplinary removals and not having a timely IEP team meeting to plan and conduct a FBA and develop a BIP to address the student’s behavior. The district must submit a copy of this IEP to the department by April 28. In addition, the corrective action plan for this complaint must include district-wide training for school district administrative and special education staff on discipline requirements, including ensuring that building staff follow appropriate procedures, to be conducted by September 30, 2006. The corrective action plan describing this district-wide staff training must be sent to the department for approval by April 28, 2006.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 3/10/06
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