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IDEA Complaint Decision 10-044

On June 11, 2010, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, in March 2010, properly implemented a student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding preferential seating.

On March 15, 2010, an IEP team meeting was held for the student for the purpose of reviewing and revising the student’s IEP, conducting a functional behavioral assessment, developing a behavior intervention plan and determining continuing placement. The student and his mother attended the IEP team meeting. The IEP included “preferential seating” as a positive behavioral intervention to address the student’s behavior. In addition, the IEP provided, as a supplementary aid and service, “preferential setting: He will sit near area of instruction to support teacher monitoring of understanding/performance” in regular education and special education classrooms.

On March 25, 2010, the student was not sitting near the area of instruction when behavior problems arose during a class. The student was suspended. On April 19, 2010, the district conducted a central services discipline hearing regarding the March 25 behavior incident.

At the beginning of each school year, each local education agency (LEA) must have in effect, for each child with a disability an IEP, and special education and related services must be made available to the student in accordance with the student’s IEP. The district must inform all regular education teachers, special education teachers, related service providers and other service providers of the student of their specific responsibilities related to implementing the student’s IEP. On March 25, 2010, the student’s IEP was not properly implemented, as the student was not sitting near the area of instruction when behavior problems arose during a class. The amount and frequency is described in a manner indicating it would be provided in all classes 100% of the time.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan (CAP) to the department for approval prior to implementation. The CAP must ensure all staff in district high schools are informed of their specific responsibilities related to implementing IEPs and; the school administration, with the special education leadership liaison (SELL) and special education supervisor establishes a system of supervision to insure IEPs are properly implemented.

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/SJP 7/29/10
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy