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IDEA Complaint Decision 10-008

On February 8, 2010, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Reedsburg. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2009-2010 school year

  • properly changed the student’s individualized education program (IEP),
  • properly determined placement, and
  • followed required procedures when it disciplined the student.

The student’s parents are divorced and both retain educational decision-making authority. On November 16, 2009, the district and the father agreed to change the student’s placement without an IEP team meeting. In making changes to a student’s IEP after the annual IEP team meeting, the parent and the district may agree not to convene an IEP team meeting for the purpose of making those changes and instead may develop a written document to amend or modify the student’s current IEP. When both parents retain educational decision-making authority, either parent may agree to the changes. However, this exception to the IEP team meeting requirement does not apply to changes in placement. Changes to a student’s placement must be made through an IEP team meeting.

However, no student specific corrective action is required. On January 21, 2010, an IEP team meeting was held for the purpose of reviewing, revising, and updating the IEP and discussing and determining placement alternatives. Both the mother and the father attended the IEP team meeting. The placement decision was made in conformity with the least restrictive environment requirements. The IEP documented placement options considered and the reasons the options were rejected. The district properly determined placement.

On November 30, 2009, the student engaged in misbehavior which involved language and conduct and striking a teacher. The student was suspended for three days. State law permits a school district administrator, or any principal or teacher designated by the school district administrator, to suspend a student for conduct while at school which endangers the property, health, or safety of others. The district was not required to provide services to the student during the removal. Because of the student’s behavior, the district convened an IEP team meeting on December 2, 2009. Under special factors, the IEP team determined the student’s behaviors impeded the student’s learning or that of others. Positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address the behavior included rewards and frequent praise. Special education services included academic and behavioral support consultation for 30 minutes biweekly and individual tutoring for up to six hours per week in an “off campus location.” The district followed required procedures when it disciplined the student.

Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan to ensure staff are aware that changes to a student’s placement must be made through an IEP team meeting. 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 4/7/10
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy