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IDEA Complaint Decision 04-060

On December 13, 2004, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district during the 2004-2005 school year followed required procedures when the district suspended a child with a disability more than ten days during the school year and properly notified the student's parent of an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting conducted on November 22.

Between October 14, and December 7, 2004, the child was suspended out of school on 23 days. The district acknowledges that the child's out-of-school suspensions exceeded ten cumulative days during the school year and required procedures were not followed. The child's cumulative records including special education records had not been obtained from the child's previous school. Between September 1 and November 22, 2004, the child did not have a current IEP and special education placement.

On November 12, 2004, an invitation to a November 22 IEP team meeting was sent to a relative of the child. The relative is not the child's legal guardian. The child's legal guardian was not properly notified of the November 22 IEP team meeting. The district has corrected the district electronic school information system (ESIS) data regarding this child's legal guardian and address. On December 17, 2004, the child's legal guardian was sent an invitation to a January 13, 2005, IEP team meeting. On January 4, 2005, the child began attending a different school. The child's legal guardian attended the January 13 IEP team meeting. The IEP team determined that additional testing was needed. A February 17, IEP team meeting is scheduled to determine continued eligibility for special education, develop an IEP, conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), develop a behavior intervention plan (BIP), and determine continuing placement. The child's legal guardian was provided an invitation to this meeting on January 13, 2005.

The district, when it acknowledged that the child had been suspended for more than ten days during the school year, indicated that it will convene an IEP team meeting to address needed child-specific corrective action. On February 17, the IEP team must ensure that the BIP includes specific behavior information with positive intervention and supports to address the child's behavior problems at school and make a placement determination. In addition, the team must consider whether the child needs additional services as a result of his disciplinary removals and not having a current IEP between September 1 and November 22, 2004. The district must submit documentation of these child-specific corrective actions to the department by March 11, 2005.

On February 12, 16, and 26, 2005, the district will be holding district-wide mandatory staff development sessions for principals regarding the special education discipline requirements. The district has agreed to ensure that the building principal and other building staff authorized to discipline students at this child's previous high school attend one of these sessions. By March 11, 2005, the district is directed to verify to the department the attendance of the building principal and other building staff by submitting the sign in sheets for these mandatory sessions.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 1/27/05
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy