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IDEA Complaint Decision 14-030

On May 22, 2014, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the East Troy School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues covering the 2013-14 school year are addressed below.

Properly developed and implemented an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to address the unique needs of the student

An IEP is a written statement for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised during an IEP team meeting. When an IEP team develops an IEP for a student, the IEP team must consider the strengths of the student, the concerns of the child’s parents for enhancing the education for their child, the results of the most recent reevaluations of the student, and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the student.

On October 3, 2013, the IEP team met and considered all of the required information, including information provided by the parents, and developed an IEP that addressed the student’s unique needs. The parents attended the meeting, and stated concerns about increasing the student’s academic rigor and the child’s ability to communicate homework expectations. The IEP team considered the concerns and information provided by the parents. The IEP team developed speech and language goals related to articulation and fluency, and included support in organizational skills in the regular education environment as a supplementary aid and service. The IEP states that directions to assignments will be sent home for multi-step projects. While the district sent home rubrics for each assignment, the district did not send home written directions for multi-step projects. Although the district properly developed the student’s IEP to address the student’s unique needs during the 2013-14 school year, the district did not properly implement the student’s IEP regarding multi-step projects.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must convene an IEP team meeting to determine whether compensatory services are required due to the district’s failure to implement the student’s IEP. The district must submit a copy of the IEP to the department within 10 days of the IEP team meeting.

Properly responded to the parent’s concerns regarding the student’s behavior

On April 13, 2014, the parent contacted the district with concerns about the student’s behavior at home. The district met with the parents on April 14, and developed a plan for the student to use a break card if experiencing stress during the school day. The break card is available for all students and the purpose is to provide a student the opportunity to go to the office, take a walk, or read a book if needed during the day. District staff also met on May 30, to discuss the parent’s concerns and student’s behaviors. In response to the parent’s concerns, the district added a five minute break to the student’s transitions. This support was also available to students who were not in special education. The parent never requested an IEP team meeting to discuss their concerns. In addition, documentation received from the district and staff interviews, demonstrate that the student’s behavior of concern was not continuing during school. Therefore, district staff did not believe the student required additional behavioral supports in the school setting. The district properly responded to the parent’s concerns.

Improperly restrained a student with a disability

Under Wisconsin state law, the use of restraint or seclusion in public schools is prohibited unless the student’s behavior presents a clear, present, and imminent risk to the physical safety of the student or to others, and it is the least restrictive intervention feasible. “Restraint” is defined as a restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to freely move his or her torso, arms, legs, or head.

On May 27, 2014, the parent informed staff that she believed the student had been restrained at school, and that she did not receive any communication about the incident from the district. On April 1, the student was acting nervous and the teacher tried to calm the student by placing her hand over the top of the student’s hands. The teacher did not restrict the student’s movement of the torso, arms, legs, or head. Restraint was not used in this incident.

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 7/21/2014
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support