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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-032

On March 21, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Wilmot Union High School. On March 31, 2008, the department set aside its investigation of the complaint pending completion of the due process hearing filed by the student’s parent on March 21, 2008. On April 9, 2008, the department received a notice stating the due process hearing request was dismissed. The issues in this complaint were not decided. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2007-2008 school year:

  • Properly modified the student’s education program and placement, and
  • Properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP).

Reducing a student’s schedule and changing the child’s environment are determinations made by an IEP team. Reductions in schedule generally should be made with the goal of working towards increasing to a full school day. In August 2007, the student’s IEP team determined that during the 2006-2007 school year, the student needed a reduced schedule, which consisted of six class periods. During four of the periods, the student received special education instruction in core curriculum subjects, and during the other two periods, the student received regular education instruction in elective courses. The IEP team determined the student’s schedule should be reduced because of the student’s injury, fatigue, and inability to focus. On October 22, 2007, the IEP team met and the student’s program was changed. The IEP team determined the student would receive special education instruction for three periods and receive regular education instruction for one period. During the other two periods, the student would attend the resource learning center to receive support in completing assignments.

In November 2007, after conversations with the parent, the student’s school day was shortened, and his schedule was reduced from six periods to five periods. This change was not made by the IEP team. In January 2008, the student’s schedule was again modified without conducting an IEP team meeting. The student was withdrawn from the general education class and assigned to a special education math class. The student was no longer receiving any instruction in the general education environment. Because these changes were not documented in the student’s IEP, the student’s October 2007 IEP was also not implemented as written.

The parent also alleges the student’s IEP was not being implemented during the third period. During this time, the student attended the resource learning center, as provided for in the IEP. On March 2, 2008, an aide who had been working with the student began transporting another student home during the third hour, and she asked the student to accompany her because he was having a difficult day. After March 2, 2008, the student attended the resource learning center as required by the IEP, and received support from a supervised aide. Except for the third hour period on March 2, 2008, the IEP was consistently implemented in this regard.

Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the district must conduct an IEP team meeting to determine whether additional services are required because, beginning in November 2007, the district did not follow proper procedures in changing the student’s placement. Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the district must also submit a corrective action plan to ensure staff are aware of the proper procedures in changing a student’s placement.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 6/5/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy