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IDEA Complaint Decision 05-060

On December 7, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Bonduel. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, between December 7, 2004, and December 7, 2005:

  • Properly determined speech and language services to be provided to a child with a disability;
  • Properly considered the parent’s concerns for enhancing their child’s education; and
  • Scheduled individualized education program (IEP) team meetings at mutually agreed times and properly notified the parents of who would attend the meetings.

An IEP team meeting was being scheduled in the fall of 2005 for the purpose of determining continued eligibility for special education, determining continuing placement and to develop an annual IEP for a middle school student with a speech and language disability. The previous annual IEP review had occurred on November 7, 2004. In preparation for the IEP team meeting, a letter dated October 3, 2005, was sent to the parent. The letter included a Notice of Reevaluation for the student and requested a return phone call from the parent to discuss what evaluations may or may not be needed. A Notice of Reevaluation/Review of Existing Information and Additional Tests Not Needed was sent to the parents on September 29 and October 19, 2005. On October 19, 2005, the district called the mother for parental input and involvement for the reevaluation. During this conversation, the mother reported that the student’s speech had declined over the past three years, in that the student was not speaking as clearly as he had prior to coming to the district.

Between October 13 and October 31, 2005, district staff communicated with the parent multiple times attempting to arrange the meeting at a mutually agreed time. Several dates were suggested. The parent wanted the district to arrange the meeting later in the day than the district was prepared to start the meeting, given that the meeting was expected to last 1-½ hours or longer.

On October 26, 2005, the district sent An Invitation to Individualized Education Program Meeting to the parents scheduling the meeting for November 1, 2005 at 3:15 pm. The invitation listed the participants who would be present at the meeting, including the seventh grade team of regular education teachers, the speech and language pathologist, the LEA representative, the middle school principal and the guidance counselor. On October 31, 2005, the mother called and requested that the meeting take place on November 4, but noted that she might arrive late. On October 31, the director of special education left a message with the mother confirming that the meeting had been rescheduled for November 4. On November 4 district staff waited approximately 25 minutes after the scheduled time for the parent before starting the meeting. The parent arrived 10 minutes after the district began the meeting. On her arrival, the parent insisted that only the speech and language pathologist, the director of special education, and one regular education teacher be present. The director informed the parent that it was appropriate for the seventh grade team of regular education teachers to be present to share their classroom experiences regarding the student. The parent objected verbally and left the meeting. The IEP team meeting continued with the district staff present.

The IEP team determined the student continued to be eligible in the area of speech and language and the student continued to need special education in the area of language. The team discussed the student’s improved articulation over the past year, as well as the parent’s concerns that he had not progressed in this area. The student’s general education teachers indicated that the student has a minor dysfluency that does not appear to affect his intelligibility, that he is performing well academically, and his language and intelligibility do not impede his learning. The IEP team determined that the continued amount of services should be reduced from two twenty-minute individual sessions to one twenty-minute session per week. An IEP was developed for the student to reflect his needs.

Through interviews and written documentation with district staff and the parent, the department determines that the district properly determined speech and language services to be provided, properly considered the parents’ concerns for enhancing their child’s education, and properly notified parents of who would attend the meetings. In this case the district did attempt to arrange the meeting at a mutually agreed time and the parent did arrive for the meeting shortly after it commenced. The district did arrange for teachers to remain after normal business hours to complete the re-evaluation, develop a program, and determine placement.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed 2/6/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy