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IDEA Complaint Decision 10-013

On February 24, 2010, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Waterford Union High School. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2009-2010 school year, properly implemented the student’s behavioral intervention plan (BIP) and properly followed required procedures when disciplining a child with a disability.

The student’s individualized education program (IEP) identified the student’s behavior as a special factor. When behavior is identified as a special factor, the IEP team must consider the use of positive behavior interventions and supports and other strategies to address the behavior. The student’s IEPs in effect during the 2009-2010 school year include a BIP identifying several positive supports and strategies such as praise, choices, distant proximity, non-verbal signals, redirection, movement breaks, allowing the student to go another place if he can’t maintain himself in the classroom, and contact with home when “things were out of the norm.”

In the beginning of the school year, the case manager provided a copy of the BIP to each of the student’s teachers. However, shortly thereafter, the case manger went on leave for approximately three weeks during the month of September. During this time, the student’s BIP was not consistently implemented. The student, for example, was not always provided with an alternative place or movement break when his behavior began to escalate. Contact with home was also not consistently made as required by the IEP. When the case manager returned the first week of October, an IEP team meeting was conducted, the student’s IEP was reviewed, and the student’s BIP has since been implemented. The case manager, beginning in February, meets weekly with the regular education teachers, aides, and special education staff to review both behavior data and the effectiveness of the positive behavior interventions, supports and strategies. The student has made progress during this school year, and both the amount and duration of behavioral incidents have decreased.

The student, as a result of out-of-school suspensions and being sent home for disciplinary reasons, was removed from his current placement for a total of 10 cumulative school days during the 2009-2010 school year. Because the removals have not exceeded 10 days, the school district was not required to provide services during periods of removal. The district followed required procedures when disciplining the student.

Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the district must conduct an IEP team meeting to determine whether compensatory services are required if the failure to consistently implement the student’s BIP during the three-week period in September impeded the student’s learning. The district must submit documentation of the IEP team meeting and a copy of the IEP to the department. The district must also submit a corrective action plan to ensure IEPs are implemented when there is a staff leave of absence.

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 4/22/10
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy