On June 16, 2014, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the XXXXX School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2013-14 school year, properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) and placement.
The student’s IEP in effect for the 2013-14 school year was developed on May 1, 2013. The special education services provided in the May IEP are 90 minutes per week of speech and language services in the regular education classroom, 30 minutes per day of reading and 60 minutes per day of math instruction in the special education classroom, 30 minutes per day of writing instruction in the regular education classroom, and one class period per week of life skills instruction in the special education classroom. The IEP also provided for 90 minutes per day of special education support in reading/language arts in the regular education classroom unless the student “needs small group instruction in specific areas” in the special education classroom. The IEP further states the student will participate with nondisabled peers except when receiving special education services in the special education environment.
The student attended a new school during the 2013-14 school year, and the transition was difficult for the student. Staff noted that there were more behavioral difficulties especially during the afternoon. By December, the student would leave the regular education classroom early on most days to go to the special education classroom because of behavioral difficulties. As a result, the student would receive only 40-70 minutes of special education support in reading/language support in the regular education classroom, and the rest of the support in the special education classroom. District staff believed this was acceptable because the IEP permitted removal to the special education classroom when the student needed small group instruction. However, this removal became almost daily and it was primarily due to behavioral reasons, not because of a need for small group instruction in a specific area. During the 2013-14 school year, the student received 90 minutes per week of speech and language services; however, these services frequently took place in the special education classroom instead of the regular education classroom as required by the student’s IEP. In addition, the student did not receive thirteen speech and language sessions during the 2013-14 school year, because either the speech and language therapist was not available or other school activities interfered. Because of the way the regular education class was structured, the student received 20 minutes of writing instruction per day in the regular education classroom throughout the 2013-14 school year, instead of the 30 minutes as required by the IEP. The student received lunch, specials, and recess in the regular education environment. The lunch table where the student often sat included both students with and without disabilities. The school district did not properly implement the student’s IEP with regard to provision of services and placement during the 2013-14 school year.
Within 30 days from the date of the decision, the school district must conduct an IEP team meeting to consider whether compensatory services are required because of the failure to implement the student’s IEP. Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the school district must also develop a corrective action plan to ensure that IEPs are fully implemented with regard to both provision of services and placement.
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 8/13/2014
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support