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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-011

On January 28, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Tomorrow River School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2007-2008 school year:

  • Properly responded to the parent’s request to stop psychological testing;
  • Properly sought the parent’s conclusion regarding the specific learning disability evaluation report for his child; and
  • Properly responded to a parent’s concerns during an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting regarding his child’s reading, language and comprehension needs.

On October 15, 2007, the child’s father referred the child for a special education evaluation in the area of specific learning disability. The stated reason for the referral was the father’s concern with the student’s academic performance, specifically in the area of reading comprehension and writing. The student’s mother, on October 23, 2007, provided consent for the school psychologist to conduct assessments, including classroom observations. The student’s father returned the form with his consent on November 25, 2007. On November 23, 2007, the mother provided consent for an additional interview to be conducted by the school psychologist. The father states, however, he informed the school psychologist on November 29, 2007 to stop any further assessment. Both parents had legal authority to make educational decisions for the child.

The school psychologist conducted classroom observations on October 24, November 5, and November 7, 2007. The school psychologist met with the student on November 1, 2007 and conducted the additional interview on November 30, 2007. On December 5, 2007, the student’s mother asked the psychologist to meet with the student regarding recent fears the student had expressed. The psychologist met with the student on that same day. Either parent may consent to an evaluation. A district must proceed with a special education evaluation of a child when it has consent from one parent even in situations where the other parent has refused or withdrawn consent. Consequently, the school psychologist was authorized to conduct the classroom observations and the additional interview. The school psychologist was acting with the mother’s consent even though the father had withdrawn his consent.

On December 18, 2007, the IEP team met and determined the student was not eligible for special education. In making this determination, the IEP followed the eligibility criteria for specific learning disabilities. As part of the review, the IEP team considered the father’s concerns regarding reading level, spelling, and comprehension. However, the IEP team determined the student did not meet the eligibility criteria and documented the reasons why. At the meeting, district staff also discussed how to meet the student’s general education needs. The student’s father was not in agreement with the eligibility determination. The district provided the father with proper notice, and informed him of the right to request an individual education evaluation (IEE). The school district properly considered the parent’s concerns.

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

//signed CST 7/28/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy