IDEA Complaint Decision 09-004

On January 30, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the River Falls school district. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2008-2009 school year, properly responded to the parent’s request to amend her child’s education records.

If a parent believes information in pupil records is inaccurate, misleading or violates the privacy or other rights of the child, the parent may request the school district to amend the information. There is no requirement the request be in writing. If the district decides not to amend the information, it must inform the parent of the refusal, and advise the parent of the right to a hearing to review the district’s decision. If, as a result of the hearing, the district decides the information is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the child, it must amend the information accordingly and inform the parent in writing. If the district decides the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the child, it must inform the parent of the right to place in the records a statement commenting on the information or stating the reasons for disagreeing with the district’s decision. The parent’s statement must be maintained by the district as part of the child’s pupil records as long as the contested information is maintained by the district.

Prior to August 1, 2008, the parent verbally requested the district remove wording that states or implies her child has attention problems. On August 1, the district sent a letter to the parent requesting she state her request in writing. On or about August 18, the parent provided the district with a written request to remove wording from her child’s school records such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other words implying attention problems. On September 9, the district sent a notice of response to an activity refusing the parent’s request to amend the child’s records. The district did not advise the parent of her right to a hearing to review the district’s decision. On February 3, 2009, in response to the complaint, the district removed a sentence that included reference to ADHD from the child’s current individualized education program (IEP).

The district did not properly respond to the parent’s request because there was too long a delay, the district required a written response and they did not inform the parent of her right to a hearing to review the district’s decision. The district must, within 30 days from the date of this decision, develop a corrective action plan that ensures the district will properly respond to parent requests for amending pupil records. In addition, the district must respond to the parent’s August 1, 2008 request by reviewing the student’s records for references regarding attention problems, and provide a response to the parent following the required procedures as described above. The district must submit documentation to the department by April 20, 2009, demonstrating this has occurred.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/AJC 3/30/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/svb

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