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IDEA Complaint Decision 09-037

On May 19, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Kenosha Unified School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2008-2009 school year, properly changed the student’s placement and properly considered positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address behavior impeding learning.

The student is an eighteen year-old adult student. A student with a disability is eligible for special education services beginning at age three through the school term in which he turns 21 years old, if he or she has not graduated from high school with a regular education diploma. The individualized education program (IEP) team must determine the special education placement, including the school building, for a student with a disability. The placement decision must be made based on the student’s IEP. The local educational agency (LEA) must provide an adult student and the student’s parents or guardian prior written notice whenever the LEA proposes to initiate or change, or refuses to initiate or change, the educational placement of a student with a disability. The IEP team must also in the case of a child whose behavior impedes the child’s learning or that of others, consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address that behavior.

The LEA acknowledges it did not properly change the adult student’s placement on October 23 and December 10, 2008, when a staff member dropped the student from all classes without an IEP team meeting. The LEA further acknowledges that, during the October 2008 IEP team meeting, it did not properly consider positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address the student’s behavior impeding learning.

The district has already developed and has begun implementing corrective actions to address the issues. In January 2009, when the district special education department, high school administration, and special education program support teacher became aware of the student’s situation, both student specific and district-wide actions were taken. On January 26, March 23, April 30, and June 13, 2009, IEP teams addressed the student’s behavioral needs, modified the student’s IEP educational program, placement, and provided additional services. District-wide corrective actions outlined in the district’s, June 10, 2009, letter to DPI responding to this complaint are approved for implementation with revision of the memorandum to be sent to principals, assistant principals, attendance officers, counselors, school social workers, program support teachers, and special education teachers in each district high school. The district-wide corrective actions include a March 3, 2009 meeting between the district director of special education and high school staff, administrative training at a June 17 district administrator’s meeting, clarification to be added to the district special education manual, and a memorandum that will be sent to district staff in August 2009. The district is further directed to provide the department, by September 30, 2009, documentation of completion of these four corrective actions and copies of all IEPs for this student, between June and September 2009.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 7/15/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy