IDEA Complaint Decision 06-058

On December 11, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Kenosha Unified School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2006-2007 school year:

  • Properly notified the student’s parent regarding who would attend the November meeting and the purpose of the meeting;
  • Properly determined a student’s placement during an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting in November; and
  • Followed required procedures when suspending the student or otherwise improperly excluded the student from school.

While attending elementary school in the district the student was evaluated and determined to be a child with a disability. In September 2006, the student enrolled at a district middle school transferring from an out-of-district program. On September 7, 2006, an IEP team reviewed the student’s October 26, 2005, IEP and determined placement.

A district must notify parents of the purpose, time, and location of IEP team meetings and who is expected to attend. On October 5, 2006, an IEP team including the parent met to review the student’s IEP and conduct a functional behavioral assessment and a manifestation determination. On October 5 the student’s parent was provided notice of the IEP team meeting. On November 9 and 28 an IEP team meeting was held to develop an annual IEP and determine placement. On November 6, 20, and 27 the student’s parent was provided notice of the IEP team meetings, including who would attend and the purpose of the meetings. The student’s parent participated in the meetings. The meetings were scheduled with the parent by phone followed with a written notification. The district met its responsibility to notify the student’s parents of who would attend the IEP team meetings and the purpose of the meetings.

A district must ensure that a student’s placement decision is made by an IEP team, is determined at least annually, is based on the child’s IEP, is as close as possible to the child’s home, to the maximum extent appropriate the child is educated with children who do not have disabilities, and removal from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the child’s disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

On November 9 and 28 an IEP team met to develop an annual IEP and determine placement for the student. The IEP team discussed and determined the student’s IEP would be implemented in a more restrictive environment at a district school other than the school the child would attend if not disabled. The reasons for the placement are documented in the student’s IEP. However, the IEP team did not document the date the student’s new placement and IEP would start. The student’s previous IEP was revised April 10, 2006, and ended October 26, 2006. Between October 12 and November 20, 2006, the student was hospitalized. An IEP team meeting to develop an annual IEP was scheduled for October 24 but not held. Although the district provided the student school work at the hospital the district did not ensure that the student had a current IEP between October 26 and November 28, 2006. Between November 27 and December 15 the student’s parent refused to send the student to the district separate day school and the district provided the student instruction at his home two hours per day.

On December 14 the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise the student’s IEP and determine placement. The IEP team discussed and determined the student’s IEP would be implemented in the more restrictive environment at the district separate day school. The reasons for the placement are documented in the student’s IEP. The IEP team determination and notice of placement indicates December 18 as the date the student’s new placement and IEP would start. On December 18 the student attended the district separate day school. On December 14 the district IEP team corrected the incomplete placement decision made at the November 9 and 28 IEP team meetings. Between October 12 and December 15, 2006, the district did not properly provide services to the student as required in an IEP. The district will hold an IEP team meeting no later than March 16, 2007, to determine whether the student requires additional services as a result of not properly providing services during this time period.

A district may suspend a student for inappropriate behavior. Prior to the suspension, the student must be advised of the reason for the proposed suspension. The student’s parent must be given prompt notice of the suspension and the reason for the suspension. In-school suspensions from class must be considered a removal unless the child has an opportunity to participate in the general curriculum, receive his IEP services, and participate with children who do not have disabilities to the extent he would have in his current placement. When addressing inappropriate behavior by a student with a disability, the district may hold an IEP team meeting to review the student’s IEP and placement to determine whether they continue to be appropriate. The IEP team should determine whether the student’s behavior is impeding his learning or the learning of others. The team must consider positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address the student’s behavior. The IEP team may conduct a functional behavioral assessment to assist in the development of positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports. The IEP team may conduct a manifestation determination to determine if the student’s behavior is a manifestation of the student’s disability.

On September 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 21, 22, and October 9 the student was assigned in-school suspensions from class in the school Opportunity Center. The student had an opportunity to participate in the general curriculum, receive his IEP services, and participate with children who do not have disabilities to the extent he would have in his current placement. The student received out-of-school suspensions on September 13, one-half day, October 2, 3, 4, and October 9 one-half day. Prior to the suspensions, the student was advised of the reasons for the suspensions. The student’s parent was given prompt notice of the suspensions and the reason for the suspensions. The district followed required procedures when suspending the student.

The student’s IEP includes positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports to address the student’s behavior and the student’s behavior interventions were modified to meet the student’s needs. On November 9 and 28 an IEP team meeting was conducted to review the student’s IEP and placement to determine whether they continued to be appropriate. On December 14 the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise the student’s IEP and determine placement. The IEP teams determined the student’s behavior was a danger to staff and impeded his learning and the learning of others. The IEP team determined the student’s IEP would be implemented in a more restrictive environment at the district separate day school.

The district must, within 30 days, develop a corrective action plan to ensure IEP teams correctly document the date a student’s new placement begins and ensure that students are provided services in a current IEP. The corrective action plan must be sent to the department for approval by March 16, 2007.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 2/13/07
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/jdf

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