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IDEA Complaint Decision 13-048

On September 17, 2013, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against XXXXX. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2012-13 school year, properly developed an individualized education program (IEP) to address the unique behavioral needs of a student with a disability.

An IEP is a written statement for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised during an IEP team meeting. Each student’s IEP must include a statement of the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including how the disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum; measurable annual goals designed to meet the student’s disability related needs to enable the student to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; a description of how progress toward meeting annual goals will be measured; and when periodic reports on the progress will be provided to the parent. Each student’s IEP must also include a statement of the special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports for school staff based on each student’s unique needs and an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with nondisabled peers in the regular class and other school activities.

The IEPs in effect for the 2012-13 school year addressed the behavioral needs of the student. The statement of present level of academic and functional performance detailed the student’s difficulties, successes, and needs specific to behavior. The IEP team developed measurable annual goals to address social skills, behavior, and self-regulation. The IEPs also included several positive behavioral supports and strategies, such as a plan to address escalating behaviors, a token and point reward system, praise, redirection, movement and sensory breaks, check-in/checkout system, weekly check in with the school counselor, social skills instruction, foreshadowing activities, preferential seating, and a visual support schedule. The district also hired a paraprofessional to work one-on-one with the student.

Beginning in November, the student’s behaviors began to escalate. A functional behavioral assessment was performed. The IEP team met on December 12, 2012, to review the functional behavioral assessment and the effectiveness of the interventions. After winter break, the IEP team met again on January 3, 2013, to review the IEP and include additional supplementary aids and services, such as assistance with situational occurrences due to behavior, direct academic support and instruction, increased breaks during academic instruction, and individual or small group physical education instruction.

On January 22, 2013, an IEP team meeting was scheduled to address continuing concerns related to the student’s behavior incidents. Prior to the IEP’s completion, the parent withdrew the student from the district and elected to provide a home-based private education program. The district properly developed an IEP to address the unique behavior needs of a student with a disability.

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

//signed CST 11/8/2013
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support