IDEA Complaint Decision 07-071

On October 12, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district provided a child with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE) between September 4 and October 12, 2007, when home and hospital services were discontinued.

On April 18, 2007, an individualized education program (IEP) team met to develop the student’s annual IEP, determine continuing placement, and determine “Grades/possible home and hospital services.” The student’s parents did not attend the meeting. However, both a parent representative and a parent advocate attended the meeting. The student’s placement was changed from school based to home and hospital instruction/services beginning April 23, 2007, through June 13, 2007. On June 7, 2007, an IEP team met to review and revise the student’s IEP, determine continuing placement, and review home and hospital program and possible extended school year services. The student’s parents did not attend the meeting. The IEP team determined the student would receive extended school year (ESY) services from July 9, 2007, to August 3, 2007. The student’s placement was changed from home and hospital instruction/services to school based instruction effective June 14, 2007. The determination and placement notice includes the statement “(Student’s name) will be dismissed from home/hospital services on June 14, 2007.”

On July 5, 2007, an IEP team met to review and revise the student’s IEP and determine continuing placement. The student’s parent and sister attended the meeting. The IEP team determined the student would receive ESY services at home for the summer of 2007 with a projected implementation date of July 9, 2007. The student’s parent was informed that more information would be needed for the IEP team to justify continued home and hospital services for September 2007. The district intended to receive the child at school on September 4 and verbally communicated this to the parent. However, the district failed to clearly specify this in the July 5 written notice of placement.

The student did not attend school on September 4, 2007, the first day of student attendance for the 2007-2008 school year, and remained out of school through October 17, 2007. On September 5, the student’s special education teacher received a note from a medical office regarding the student’s diagnosis and need for home and hospital program. The teacher made numerous phone calls to the student’s parents requesting additional information and to set a date and time for an IEP team meeting to consider a change in the student’s placement. On September 17, 21, and 25, the school social worker contacted the student’s mother regarding the student’s attendance and medical information needed by the IEP team.

On October 2, 2007, an IEP team met to review and revise the student’s IEP, determine continuing placement, and review home and hospital services. The student’s parents did not attend the meeting. The IEP team determined the student’s placement would remain at the assigned school, not home and hospital services. On October 17, 2007, an IEP team met to review and revise the student’s IEP, determine continuing placement, and review home and hospital services. The IEP team determined the student’s placement would remain at the assigned school not home and hospital services. The student’s parents did not attend the meeting. On October 17, the student’s family informed the district the student was attending a different Wisconsin school district.

The district developed an IEP and determined the student’s placement for the 2007-2008 school year. When the student did not attend school in September 2007, school staff made numerous contacts with the parent to have the student attend school, to obtain information to determine home placement, to schedule IEP team meetings, and conduct IEP team meetings to ensure the student received FAPE between September 4 and October 12, 2007, after home and hospital services were discontinued. Although the district informed the parent that the child should return to school on September 4, the district failed to clearly specify this in a written notice of placement until October 2, 2007. No student specific corrective action is required because the student is no longer enrolled in the district. The district is directed to share this decision with all special education leadership liaisons, who will in turn share it with all special education supervisors. By February 15, 2008, the district must provide DPI a written assurance signed by each special education leadership liaison that this decision has been shared with all district special education supervisors.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 12/10/07
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