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IDEA Complaint Decision 09-039

On June 1, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District (RUSD). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2008-2009 school year, properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding use of an inhaler.

Special education law requires a student’s IEP to state the amount of services in the IEP so the level of the district’s commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members. The amount of time to be committed to each of the various services to be provided must be appropriate to the specific service and stated in the IEP in a manner clear to all who are involved in both the development and the implementation of the IEP.

The IEP in effect at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year includes an individual education health plan. This March 11, 2008, individual education health plan includes the prescribed intervention medication “Albuterol inhaler” with actions and interventions, “administer medication per RUSD policy and per prescriber authorization.” March 4 and May 15, 2009, IEP teams included a school nurse, and an individual education health plan is attached to these two IEPs. These individual education health plans include the prescribed intervention medication “Albuterol inhaler as needed (school)” with no actions and interventions listed. At the May 15 IEP team meeting, the student’s father inquired about the use of the inhaler. The student’s parents believe the student’s Albuterol inhaler has not been implemented as prescribed, “Albuterol inhaler with spacer, 2 puffs every 4 to 6 hours as needed and 15 to 20 minutes before exercise.” The district student medication administration log and health room log include only eight notation dates regarding anxious breathing or inhaler use. In addition, when the student and her parents participated in a school spring 2009 field trip, the school did not have the student’s inhaler at the field trip site. The use of the phrase “as needed (school)” does not provide the required specificity for implementation of the IEP regarding use of an inhaler.

The student’s parent and school principal have conferred and agreed to hold an IEP team meeting in September 2009 to revise the student’s IEP to ensure the amount and frequency of services in the IEP health plan, regarding use of the student’s inhaler, are clearly written. A copy of the IEP must be sent to the department within one week of the IEP team meeting and no later than September 14, 2009. In addition, the student’s principal and parent discussed a possible plan to ensure the student’s IEP is implemented regarding the use of the student’s inhaler, including having the inhaler available at field trip sites. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district will submit a proposed corrective action plan (CAP) for approval prior to implementation. The proposed CAP must ensure IEP individual education health plans are implemented and are written with the required specificity so they can be implemented, and the district’s commitment of resources is clear.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 7/30/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy