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IDEA Complaint Decision 10-026

On April 19, 2010 (form dated April 13, 2010), the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Cameron. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, on January 6, 2010, properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding a behavior intervention plan.

On October 1, 2009, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the IEP. The grandparent and student attended the meeting. The team determined the student would attend school five days per week for three hours per day. Due to stress, related to reentry into the school system, the team determined a shortened day was required at that time to best meet the student’s current educational needs. The goal was to evaluate student progress at the end of the first semester and to determine whether to increase the student’s school day.

A student behavior intervention plan was developed that indicated when the student feels angry, frustrated, stressed, or confused, the student may first talk with the teacher and if not available, the student will proceed to the main office or guidance office. The student may also choose to listen to music, take a walk, or call different support people to help calm down. Under the supplemental aids and services, it states the student will have access to a “break or cool down period.” It also states, when the student cannot control emotions and behavior, school staff will contact the police department.

On January 5, 2010, a social services representative contacted the principal and requested the student’s length of day be increased to a full half-day. The principal responded that an IEP team meeting would need to be convened before the student’s day was increased. The social services representative also contacted the family regarding a schedule change, and the student came to school on January 6, 2010, with the understanding that school would be increased until noon.

On January 6, a behavior incident occurred during which time the student became verbally agitated and aggressive after speaking with the principal about the length of the day not being increased. The student walked out of the office and into the student commons area. The principal called the county social worker for assistance and left a message. The principal instructed a staff member to call the police. The student overheard the directive and removed the fire extinguisher from the case. It fell to the floor, the student picked it up and stated people were going to get hurt. A school-wide classroom lockdown followed shortly. The local sheriff was called while the principal attempted to get the student away from the commons area and into a break or cool-down area. Once the local sheriff was called, the school was directed to call the county sheriff's office. The student continued the aggressive behavior, and the officer handcuffed the student.

During the incident, the principal maintains he was aware of the behavior intervention plan strategies and used a quiet and calm voice throughout the incident, including while attempting to provide access to a break or cool-down area. The district properly implemented the student’s crisis interventions stated in the behavior intervention plan.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed CST/SJP 6/18/10
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy