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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-090

On November 26, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Superior School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district properly implemented the student’s behavioral intervention plan (BIP) in November 2008.

The individualized education program (IEP) team developed an annual IEP on January 18, 2008, which included a functional behavioral assessment and BIP. The IEP team updated the BIP on February 29, 2008, and agreed to meet in May in advance of the student’s transition to a new school the upcoming fall. However, no IEP team meeting was scheduled before the end of the school year. The IEP team met on September 12, 2008, and discussed a number of parental concerns. Some changes to the student’s special education services were made. However, the student’s BIP was not discussed and no changes were made to the BIP.

A behavioral incident occurred on November 5, 2008, during which the student attempted to run out of the building. The school’s police liaison was called to assist school staff when the student refused to come out from under a desk in a classroom and began playing with electrical wires. The police liaison met the student and staff in the hall after the student left the classroom. The student attempted to get away from the staff and moved toward the front of the building which borders a street. The student then tried to open the front door and leave. The police liaison, trained in the use of restraint, held the student briefly to keep the student from running out of the building onto the street and posing an immediate safety risk to himself. The student calmed down quickly and left the area under the supervision of the staff member within a few minutes. The police liaison immediately informed the principal of the incident, and a written report of the incident was completed.

The student’s IEP did not address restraint, as it had not been needed in the past. However, the student had a prior history of leaving class and wandering in the halls. Prior to transitioning to the new school, district staff had allowed the student to run in the playground as a behavior support strategy. However, the new school did not have a playground. District staff should have anticipated this change, reviewed the student behavioral needs, and made appropriate revisions to the student’s BIP prior to the student’s transition to the new school.

The parent believed the student’s behavior escalated because the student’s BIP, in particular the use of a “feelings chart,” was not implemented. District administration has reviewed the complaint and acknowledges portions of the student’s BIP were not implemented, including the use of a “feelings chart.” District administration also acknowledge the IEP team should have reviewed and revised the student BIP to address the student’s needs prior to the student’s transition to a new school. The student has not attempted to run out of the school again since the November incident. The district scheduled an IEP team meeting for January 23, 2009. The IEP team will discuss the student’s BIP, including whether a crisis intervention plan is needed. The department accepts this proposed student specific corrective action. In addition, within 30 days from the date of this decision, the district must submit to the department a corrective action plan to ensure IEPs are timely reviewed and revised, if needed, prior to student transitions between schools, and IEPs are implemented as written.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/SJP 1/23/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy