IDEA Complaint Decision 99-031

On May 17, 1999 (facsimile transmitted May 10, 1999, and letter dated May 14, 1999), a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against the Madison Metropolitan Public School District. This complaint alleges a violation of special education law regarding the implementation of programs for children with disabilities.

Pursuant to 34 CFR 300.660-662 of the regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and ss. 115.762(3)(g) and 115.90(1), Wis. Stats., the Department of Public Instruction investigated this complaint. In investigating a complaint, the department reviews a district's compliance with state and federal requirements. During this investigation, department staff reviewed written materials provided by the complainant and the district and educational records of the youth. In addition, department staff interviewed the complainant by telephone.

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ISSUE:

Did the district fail to provide services consistent with the youth's behavior plan on or about April 30, 1999?

APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:

Wisconsin Statutes, Section 115.76
Definitions.

In this subchapter:

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(7) "Free appropriate public education means special education and related services that are provided at public expense and under public supervision and direction, meet the standards of the department, include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education and are provided in conformity with an individualized education program.

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Wisconsin Statutes, Section 115.77
Local educational agency duties.

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(1m) A local educational agency shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the division that it does all of the following:

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(b) Makes available a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities as required by this subchapter and applicable state and federal law.

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Wisconsin Statutes, Section 115.787
Individualized education programs.

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(2) REQUIRED COMPONENTS. An individualized education program shall include all of the following:

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(c) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child * * *.

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(f) The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications described in par. (c) and the anticipated frequency, location and duration of those services and modifications.

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(3) DEVELOPMENT. * * * (b) The individualized education program team shall do all of the following: 1. In the case of a child whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others consider, when appropriate, strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, and supports to address that behavior.

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ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS:

34 CFR 300 Appendix C, Question 45

45. Is the IEP a commitment to provide services--i.e., must a public agency provide all of the services listed in the IEP?

Yes. The IEP of each child with a disability must include all services necessary to meet the child's identified special education and related services needs; and all services in the IEP must be provided in order for the agency to be in compliance with the Act.

FINDINGS OF FACT:

In February 1996, the Madison Metropolitan School District determined that the child whose education is the subject of this investigation is a child with a disability. Since that time, the child has attended school in the district and has received special education and related services. During the 1998-99 school year, the child attended Memorial High School.

The district developed the child's 1998-1999 school year IEP on May 29, 1998, in a meeting attended by a local educational agency representative, a parent of the child, special education teachers, a regular education teacher, and a social worker. The IEP includes a specific sequence of strategies and interventions, modified via a January 13, 1998, hearing officer's order, that the district must implement when the student behaves inappropriately.

On April 30, 1999, when the child behaved inappropriately, the district did not follow the specific strategies and interventions in the IEP. On April 30 an Education Resource Officer (ERO) at Memorial High School saw the student and another student standing near the auditorium. The ERO asked the students to go into the auditorium, as a program was about to begin. The students left the school building; they returned one to two hours later. They were sent to the ninth grade office to await a conference with the ninth grade principal. While waiting for the principal, the students became disruptive, and the ERO sent them home. The ERO was not aware of the strategies and interventions required by the IEP and so did not implement them on April 30.

CONCLUSION:

A LEA must ensure that special education and related services, including specific strategies and interventions to address inappropriate behavior, are provided consistent with a child's IEP.

The IEP requires a specific sequence of strategies and interventions to address the student's inappropriate behavior. On April 30, 1999, the youth displayed inappropriate behavior. The district failed to ensure that the youth's IEP was followed in response to the behavior. The complaint is substantiated.

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DIRECTIVE:

The Madison Metropolitan Public School District shall, within 30 days of receipt of this report, submit to the department a corrective action plan (CAP) to ensure that the district provides services consistent with the IEPs of this child and other children with disabilities.

The CAP shall include the activities the district will undertake to implement the directives, the personnel responsible for each activity, the date by which each activity will be completed, and the type of documentation that will be submitted to the department as evidence of completion of each activity. If a CAP requires the district to develop one or more products, the district may submit the product(s) as part of the corrective action plan. The CAP will be reviewed and the district will be informed if any revisions are required. The district will implement the CAP after it has been approved by the department.

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This concludes our investigation of this complaint. This letter is not intended, and should not be construed, to cover any other issues regarding compliance with the IDEA or Chapter 115, Wisconsin Statutes, which may exist and which are not specifically discussed herein. Under the Wisconsin public records law, ss. 19.31-19.39, Wisconsin Statutes, it may be necessary to release this document and related correspondence and records upon request.

signed JSP
6/30/99
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Juanita S. Pawlisch, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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