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IDEA Complaint Decision 09-068

On October 1, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Watertown Unified School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2009-2010 school year, properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding a general education choir class.

On November 21, 2008, an IEP team meeting was held for a student with a cognitive disability for the purpose of evaluation including determination of eligibility, annual IEP development, development of a statement of transition goals and services, and placement. Transition services described a course of study, which included a regular education choir class as an elective during the 2009-2010 school year. On the Program Summary, choir was listed with the frequency and amount of 52 minutes Monday through Friday. The location of choir was listed as the choir classroom.

At the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, the student was placed in a special education music therapy class without the knowledge of the parents. In the complaint, the parents allege the district did not follow their daughter’s IEP when she was removed from the regular education choir class.

The student’s IEP provided for choir instruction in a regular education classroom for 52 minutes per day. By unilaterally changing the student’s schedule, the district failed to properly implement the IEP and reduced the amount of time the student spent in the regular education environment without an IEP team meeting.

After the complaint was filed, the district met with the parents and offered the option of returning the student to the regular education choir class. The parents rejected that option. No further student specific corrective action is required. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan to the department to ensure all district staff understand IEPs must be implemented as written and proper procedures are followed before changing IEP services.

All noncompliance identified above must be corrected as soon as possible, but in no case more than one year from the date of this decision. This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 12/4/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy