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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-030

On March 18, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Beloit. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district properly enabled the student to participate in field trips during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years.

The parent’s complaint focuses on two field trips. The first field trip occurred during the 2006-2007 school year. At the school where the student attends, grade levels are broken down into houses. Two of the three houses attended the field trip. However, the house where the student was assigned did not participate in the trip. The staff for the student’s house did not include this field trip as part of the curriculum. All of the houses, including the one where the student was assigned, were comprised of both special education and regular education students. The department finds no error in failing to include the student in this field trip. The student did not participate because he was assigned to the house that chose not to participate in the field trip.

During the 2007-08 school year, all of the houses for the student’s grade level attended a field trip as part of the general education science curriculum. The student was not invited to attend. The district stated the student was not assigned to a house during the 2007-08 academic year because he was placed in a special education classroom for most of the school day, and attended only two regular education classes. The district stated the student did not attend the field trip because he was not assigned to a house, and his special education classroom was not invited to participate. These were the only students in the grade level that were not included in the field trip.

The student’s IEP for 2007-08 provides that he will be involved full-time in the general curriculum, and consequently, he should have been allowed to participate in the field trip as part of the general education science curriculum. District staff stated additional resources would be required if the student, and others in the special education classroom, were permitted to attend. However, this is not a permissible basis for excluding students with disabilities from field trips. Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the school district must submit a corrective action plan to ensure special education students are properly included in field trips.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 5/19/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy