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IDEA Complaint Decision 13-049

On September 25, 2013, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Monona Grove School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, beginning in April 2013, properly enabled a student with a disability to participate in extracurricular activities.

Districts must take steps to afford students with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in extracurricular services and activities. This would include the provision of supplementary aids and services, as determined by the IEP team to afford the student an equal opportunity to participate. In this case, the IEP team determined the student’s unique needs did not require supplementary aids and services to participate in extracurricular services and activities. Decisions about participation in extracurricular activities must be based on the same nondiscriminatory criteria applied to all students. In this case, the district established written policies and procedures in its code of conduct for extracurricular activities, which applies to all students. In April 2013, the student was suspended from competing in extracurricular activities for one calendar year as a result of receiving three major code of conduct violations within a calendar year, in accordance with the school’s code of conduct for extracurricular activities. The district investigated the code of conduct violation and applied penalties consistent with the written procedures. Under the appeal process, the parent appealed the suspension decision, and the district upheld the one calendar year suspension from extracurricular activities. The district states the student may not compete, but may continue to practice with the interscholastic athletic team of which the student is a member. The district applied its written code of conduct and determined the student’s participation on the team based on the same nondiscriminatory criteria applied to all students. The district did not improperly exclude the student from participating in extracurricular activities beginning in April 2013.

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

//signed CST 11/22/2013
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support