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IDEA Complaint Decision 05-048

On November 7, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Watertown Unified School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2004-2005 school year, provided services to the extent necessary to enable an expelled student to appropriately progress in the general curriculum and appropriately advance toward achieving the goals set out in the student's individualized education program (IEP).

The district's board of education expelled the student effective in late September 2004. An IEP team met in early October 2004 to develop an educational program for the student for the remainder of the school year. Another IEP team met in May 2005 to develop an IEP for the period June 1, 2005, to June 1, 2006. Both IEPs specify the amount of instruction to be provided to the student at an alternate site as a result of the expulsion. The instruction was to be one-to-one for the specified period. The student's special education teacher, the teacher who the district identified to provide instruction during the expulsion, and the district's special education director, along with the student and the parent, participated in the meeting.

During the investigation of this complaint, district staff described the process used to establish the amount of instruction. The factors considered were based on the student's individual needs and abilities, as described primarily by his special education teacher. During the May 2005 IEP team meeting, the parent was asked for her reaction to a draft present level of educational performance read to her by district staff. The parent indicated that the student had done well in the alternate site setting, noting that the regular classroom had been distracting for her child. The IEP notes that the parent indicated that the child had benefited more from the one-to-one instruction than he had from a full day of instruction in class. The district promoted the student to the next instructional level for the 2005-2006 school year. The district rescinded the expulsion order in late fall 2005. The district properly determined the amount of instruction to be provided to the student during the period of expulsion.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 1/6/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy