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IDEA Complaint Decision 06-040

On September 19, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Elmwood. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2005-2006 school year:

  • Properly responded to the parents’ request for an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting after November 2005; and
  • Properly determined the student’s self-advocacy needs.

On October 21, 2005, an email was sent to the parents stating their son’s annual IEP meeting was due on November 17, 2005. The district proposed three possible dates for the meeting. On October 24, 2005, the parents responded by return email that none of the three dates was agreeable. On November 9, 2005, an IEP team meeting was held for the purpose of an annual review, placement, and the development of a transition statement. The parents did not attend this meeting.

Another meeting was set up for the parents to review the IEP on November 10, 2005. The district also included their son in this meeting so that all could discuss the self-advocacy goal developed by the IEP team the previous day. The father strongly objected to the presence of his son and asked that the meeting stop at that point. He said that he would put his concerns in writing and asked the district to set up another IEP team meeting.

On December 17, 2005, the father faxed a written message to the district stating the IEP team meeting that the parents had previously requested during the meeting on November 10, 2005, had not yet been scheduled. The father requested that the meeting be scheduled within the next ten days. On December 21, 2005, the district wrote a letter to the parents asking them to reconsider using a facilitator at the next IEP meeting.

A public agency must initiate and conduct meetings periodically, but at least annually, to review each child’s IEP. If a parent requests an additional IEP meeting and the agency refuses to convene an IEP meeting, the agency must provide written notice to the parents of the refusal, including an explanation of why the agency has determined that conducting the meeting is not necessary to ensure the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to the student. While the district informed the parents about the availability of a facilitated IEP and mediation, the district did not schedule an IEP team meeting and did not provide the parents with a written notice that included an explanation of why the agency refused the request. The district did not properly respond to the parents’ request for an IEP team meeting after November 2005.

The parent also alleges that during the November 9, 2005, IEP team meeting, there was a goal for 100% self advocacy for his son. The parent contends that the goal states the son needs to use 100% self advocacy skills. The IEP goal states that the student “will use his self advocacy skills within the general education classroom so he can maintain passing grades 100%” of the time. Through an interview with the parent, the department determined they do not disagree with the wording of the goal. The district properly determined the student’s self-advocacy needs.

The student’s three year reevaluation meeting was held on October 25, 2006. At that meeting, the IEP Team determined that the student’s needs could be met through regular education teachers in the regular education environment and no longer required special education services. The parents agreed with this determination. No child-specific corrective action is required in this case.

Within thirty days, the district must submit a corrective action plan to address how the district properly responds to a parent’s request for an IEP team meeting.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 11/17/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy