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IDEA Complaint Decision 14-052

On October 16, 2014, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Belleville School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP), during the 2014-15  school year.

The IEP must include a statement of special education and related services and supplementary aids and services if needed provided to the student to enable the student to be educated with nondisabled children and be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum. For each service, the IEP must state the amount and frequency, location, and duration.

The student’s annual IEP was developed on January 3, 2014, at a meeting attended by the parent. According to the IEP, the student was to be in the general curriculum full-time. The IEP also states that the student participated well in all areas of the curriculum, and that she could request assistance as needed. In the content area classes of science and social studies, the IEP states in the present level information the student could receive support to facilitate the reading of content, assignments, and tests.

Under supplementary aids and services, the student’s IEP states that science and social studies tests would be modified to facilitate reading. Under frequency/amount, the IEP notes the modifications would be provided for each science and social studies unit of study.

The complaint alleges the district did not provide the supports for testing in social studies as required by the student’s IEP. When interviewed, staff members stated the student, in social studies, could have extra time to complete tests or could have tests read to her if she needed either, but that it was up to the student to determine if they were needed. It is unclear if these supplementary aids and services were what were intended as “modifications to facilitate reading.” However, even if these were the intended supplementary aids and services, the district cannot put the onus on the student to make the request for the needed supports. If the IEP team determines the student needs to develop self-advocacy, this can be done through the development of IEP annual goals. Rather, the IEP team must determine and specify in the IEP the circumstances under which the supports are required.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan to ensure supplementary aids and services are clearly stated in a student’s IEP. The district must also reconvene the student’s IEP team within 20 days to revise the IEP to clearly specify what supplementary aids and services are required, and under what circumstances they will be provided. 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 12/5/2014
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support