IDEA Complaint Decision 11-030

On August 15, 2011, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District (RUSD). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues concerning the 2010-2011 school year are addressed below.

  • Did the district properly consider the parent’s request for a consultant?
  • Did the district properly consider positive behavioral interventions, supports, and strategies to address behavior which impedes the student’s learning or that of others?

When an individualized education program (IEP) team develops an IEP for a student, the IEP team must consider the strengths of the student, the concerns of the child’s parents for enhancing the education of their child, the results of the initial evaluation or most recent reevaluation of the student, and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the student. In addition, in the case of a student whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, the IEP team must consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports and other strategies to address the student’s behavior. IEPs that include special education services and supplementary aids and services must state the frequency and amount so the level of the local education agency’s (LEA) commitment of resources is clear to the parents and other IEP team members. The statement must be appropriate to the specific service and stated in a manner that can be understood by all involved in developing and implementing the IEP. The LEA must give a copy of the student’s IEP to the student’s parents with the notice of placement. The notice must include a description of the actions proposed or refused, an explanation of why the LEA proposed or refused to take action, and a description of any other options that the LEA considered and the reasons why it rejected those options.

On September 21, 2010, an IEP team met to develop an IEP for the student. The parent and the parent’s advocate attended the meeting and requested an autism consultant work with the student and provide the teachers direction and support to help the student advance toward attaining annual goals. The IEP team discussed using a consultant. However, the IEP team’s decision regarding the parent’s request for an autism consultant is not documented in the student’s IEP nor in the placement notice as an option refused. The district did not properly document the IEP team’s decision regarding the parent’s request for a consultant.

On September 21, 2010 and April 12, 2011, IEP teams met to develop IEPs for the student. The student’s IEPs include positive behavioral interventions and supports and other strategies to address the student’s behavior. Both IEPs include the same functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and behavior intervention plan (BIP) with different dates. The parent was not involved in the development of the FBA and BIP. Development of a FBA and BIP must be done through the IEP team process, and the district must take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents are present at each IEP team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate. In this case, the parent was not included in the development of the FBA and BIP, which was done outside of the IEP team process. The district did not properly develop positive behavioral interventions, supports, and strategies to address the student’s behavior.

  • Did the district properly implement the student’s IEPs regarding the use of assistive technology, use of a visual schedule, and scheduling bathroom breaks?
  • Did the district properly enable a student with a disability to participate in field trips?

The student’s September 21, 2010 and April 12, 2011, IEPs require special education services including community based functional academics, vocational, educational, and recreational activities referred to as field trips by the parent. Supplementary aids and services are included in both IEPs. They include use of a visual schedule and a variety of assistive technology, including an iPad for communication. The frequency is described as available throughout the school day when in session, school and community settings. This description but can be interpreted to require the use of an iPad for communication and a visual schedule 100% of the time. The IEP also provides for adult supervision for bathroom breaks and is described as “consistent scheduled and supervised trips to the bathroom.” The IEPs do not define what is meant by consistent scheduled and supervised trips to the bathroom. The student’s parent believes these supervised trips to the bathroom are every two hours with clothing assistance. The frequency and amount of service regarding bathroom breaks are not stated in a manner that can be understood by all involved in developing and implementing the IEP.

Although some staff provided the services, all staff did not consistently implement the student’s IEPs regarding the use of the iPad and visual schedule. It was not used 100% throughout the school day. All staff working with the student were not trained in the use of the iPad.

Transition services in the IEP for which the school is the responsible agent include participation in instructional community experiences to learn about community services and continue vocation training/skills and to participate in age appropriate social skills. The parent refers to these instructional community experiences as field trips in her complaint. These services were also not consistently implemented during the school year.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must convene an IEP team to revise the student’s IEP so that the frequency and amount of services and supports are stated in a manner that can be understood by all involved in developing and implementing the IEP, determine whether a new FBA should be conducted, and review and revise the BIP as appropriate. The IEP team must also consider and document the IEP team’s decision regarding the parent’s request for an autism consultant. In addition the team must determine whether compensatory services are required due to the district’s failure to implement the student’s IEP. The parent must be given an opportunity to participate in the IEP team meeting. The district must submit a copy of the IEP to the department within ten days of the IEP team meeting.

In addition, within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to the department to ensure IEP teams properly consider and document the concerns of parents, properly develop positive behavioral interventions, supports, and strategies to address behavior which impedes the student’s learning or that of others; describe the frequency and amount of services and supports with the required specificity, and properly implement the IEPs. The corrective action plan should also ensure district staff responsible for implementing the IEP has the training needed to implement the IEP.

All noncompliance identified above must be corrected as soon as possible, but in no case more than one year from the date of this decision. This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/SJP 10/12/2011
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