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IDEA Complaint Decision 04-026

On June 8, 2004, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2003-2004 school year, followed required procedures when it suspended a child with a disability more than ten days during the school year; and developed an individualized education program (IEP) for the student in April 2004 to address behavior which impedes his learning.

Between October 9, 2003, and May 14, 2004, the student was suspended from school on as many as 42 days. District attendance records provided by the district and complainant document that on December 3, 2004, the student's school removals exceeded ten cumulative days. The district did not hold an IEP team meeting within ten business days of December 3, as required, to plan and conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and develop a behavior intervention plan (BIP) to address the student's behavior. According to the student, his mother and district staff, the district did not provide the student services on days of suspension after the child's school removals exceeded ten cumulative days.

The student's IEP for the 2003-2004 school year was developed on March 12, 2003. The IEP includes positive behavioral interventions and supports to address student behavior. On March 5, 2004 the district held an IEP meeting to develop an annual IEP and transition statement, determine placement, plan and conduct a FBA, and develop a BIP. The March 5, 2004, IEP for this student has IEP cover sheets attached documenting IEP team meetings also held for these purposes on March 24, April 22, and May 21, 2004. An FBA and BIP addressing excessive absences from classes are attached to the May 21, IEP. The BIP indicates that the student's schedule is to be changed to a self-contained classroom for four of ten hours of scheduled classes, and the student is to be escorted to two classes. Between May 24 and the end of the school year, June 15, 2004, the student was truant on all or part of every day. The May 21 IEP team also determined that after-school compensatory education be provided to the student. Although the district held four IEP meetings between March 5, and May 21, 2004, an IEP team meeting was not held timely in December to address the student's behavior issues.

Prior to the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year, an IEP team must review the BIP and modify the IEP as necessary to include specific behavior information with positive intervention and supports to address the student's behavior issues including non-attendance. The team also will determine whether the student needs additional services for the period after December 3, 2003, when the child's school removals exceeded ten cumulative days and for the period May 24 to June 15 when the student was truant on all or part of every day. The district must submit documentation of these child-specific corrective actions to the department by August 27, 2004. Department staff will continue to work closely with the district to assist in its review, revision and implementation of the discipline consolidated corrective action plan (CCAP).

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/SJP 7/27/04
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy