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IDEA Complaint Decision 04-013

On March 25, 2004, 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 during the 2003-2004 school year, improperly excluded the student from school and did not implement his IEP.

On November 10, 2003, the district received a letter from the child's grandmother and legal guardian requesting that her grandson be evaluated in the areas of learning disabilities, other health impaired and emotional behavioral disability. On March 10 and 17, 2004, an individualized education program (IEP) team determined that the child is a child with a disability and developed an IEP and determined placement. The child's grandmother attended the IEP team meetings.

Between November 17, 2003, and March 24, 2004, the student was suspended from school on thirty-one days. The child's school removals exceeded ten cumulative days on January 6, 2004. After the child was referred for an evaluation, the district was deemed to have knowledge that the child is a child with a disability. The district was required to follow procedures that apply to children with disabilities prior to removing the child for more than ten cumulative days in the school year. There is no evidence that the district followed these procedures. The child's IEP includes behavior improvement goals with benchmarks, but the district did not hold an individualized education program (IEP) meeting to plan a functional behavioral assessment. By June 10, 2004 the district must hold an IEP team meeting to review the child's IEP including behavior goals, plan and conduct a functional behavioral assessment and determine appropriate services. The IEP team must also consider whether the student needs compensatory services as a result of his disciplinary removals. The district must send the department a copy of the child's IEP with documentation of the team's decisions by June 30, 2004.

Department staff will continue to work closely with the district to assist in its review and implementation of the discipline and IEP consolidated corrective action plans (CCAPs).

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 5/17/04
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy