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IDEA Complaint Decision 06-032

On June 12, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Academy of Learning & Leadership, which is a 2r charter school that is chartered by the City of Milwaukee. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the charter school, which is a school district, during the 2005-2006 school year, improperly restrained a student with a disability and improperly excluded the student from school.

In spring 2006 the student was restrained. The incident was reviewed by the police and no charges were filed. Prior to this incident, restraint had been used one other time. The charter school employee involved had received training in the use of restraint during the 2000-2001 school year. However, charter school staff have not reviewed the department guidelines on the appropriate use of physical restraint in special education programs. The issue of restraint is also not addressed in the student’s individualized education program (IEP). No log regarding this incident could be located.

Staff involved in the incident described the restraint techniques that were used, and there is no indication that they were inappropriate. However, an IEP team meeting should have been held to discuss the use of restraint. The charter school must conduct an IEP meeting to address this issue. Furthermore, charter school staff must meet to review and implement the department guidelines and develop a system for maintaining incident logs. These corrective activities must be completed within thirty days from receipt of this decision, and the school must submit documentation to the department demonstrating completion of these activities no later than October 1, 2006.

In the spring of 2006, charter school staff met with the student’s parent and requested that the student stay home for two days because of planned school activities that the staff did not feel the student could participate in because of the behavioral problems. The student did stay home during these two days. However, the charter school director spoke with staff, and told them that it was not a permissible request, and that the student needed to remain in school. No further corrective action is required.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 8/11/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy