IDEA Complaint Decision 08-054

On May 28, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Dodgeland School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2007-2008 school year, implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) in band class and improperly disclosed confidential student information from a student record.

On September 14, 2007, the IEP team developed an IEP which included supplemental aids and services. The IEP stated the student would receive "reteaching available in all subject areas available all day" with "daily" frequency. The parents maintain the district did not implement the supplementary aids and services of reteaching in an elective music class. In addition, the parents allege a staff member improperly disclosed confidential student information about student performance.

The parents enrolled the student in an elective music class for the 2007-08 school year. The elective music class met twice a week for thirty minutes with an elective 15-minute weekly small group lesson during the student’s recess. The purpose of the small group session was to permit individual or small group instruction and to reteach the skills presented in large group. Because the small group session was voluntary, the student did not always participate in the small group session and was not consistently provided with the supplementary reteaching required in her IEP.

Further, the IEP as written did not provide the required specificity. Services must be stated in the IEP so the level of the agency’s commitment of resources will be clear to the parents, other IEP team participants, and the staff that will implement the IEP. The use of the amount as "available all day" and frequency "daily" did not inform the parents, other IEP team participants, or implementing teachers of the level of commitment. The most recent IEP, drafted May 30, 2008, also uses the terms "available all day" and “as needed” to describe the supplementary aids and services to be provided to the student. The district must hold an IEP team meeting by August 20, 2008, to revise the student’s IEP with the required specificity so all parties understand what supplementary aids and services are to be provided and how delivery will occur across all of the student’s classes. The district must submit a revised copy of the IEP to the department by September 1, 2008. The district must also develop a corrective action plan within thirty days of the date of this decision to ensure the amount and frequency of services are clearly described in all district IEPs.

On April 17, 2008, the teacher wrote a letter to the parents of the students in her class in which she suggested students were not working up to their capabilities, they were not prepared for a spring concert, and they should consider withdrawing from the elective music class. The teacher discussed the contents of the letter and read it aloud to her class. The letter did not contain the name or address of any student or parent. The teacher passed the letter out to 20 of the 26 students whom she felt were not working up to their potential. She did not keep a written record of which students received the letter. The teacher did not identify any of the students who received the letter as students with disabilities, nor did she suggest that their difficulties were due to their disability. Some of the students in the class with disabilities received the letter and some did not. Pupil records are defined as records relating to individual pupils or records that contain personally identifiable information maintained by an educational agency or institution. Because the letter did not contain information relating to individual pupils or contain personally identifiable information and was not maintained by an educational agency or institution, it is not subject to the rules related to confidentiality. The department concludes the district did not improperly disclose confidential student information.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 8/7/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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