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IDEA Complaint Decision 15-058

On October 19, 2015, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Pewaukee School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2015-16 school year, properly conducted a manifestation determination, properly changed the student’s placement, and properly conducted a reevaluation for a student with a disability.

Within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct, the local educational agency (LEA), the parent, and relevant members of the child’s IEP team must review all relevant information in the student’s education file to determine if the conduct in question is a manifestation of the student’s disability. If the IEP team makes the determination that the conduct was a manifestation of the child’s disability, the LEA must either conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), unless one was conducted before the behavior that resulted in the change of placement occurred, and implement a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) for the child; or if a BIP already has been developed, review and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior. The IEP team must also return the child to the placement from which the child was removed, unless the parent and the LEA agree to a change of placement as part of the modification of the BIP.

On September 28, 2015, the student was suspended for five days from school. On October 1, 2015, an IEP team meeting was held for the purpose of conducting a manifestation determination and determining a change of educational placement. The IEP team reviewed information, including the student’s IEP. The IEP team, including the parent, determined the behavior in question was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the student’s disability, but that returning the student to the student’s then-current placement was not appropriate. The IEP team reviewed placement options and selected an alternate site; however, the parent did not agree with the placement. A FBA was not conducted and a BIP was not developed to address the behavior resulting in disciplinary action.

Within 20 days, the district must conduct a FBA and develop a BIP to address the behavior that led to the student’s suspension. The district has scheduled an IEP team meeting for December 8, for the purpose of determining a new placement in agreement with the parent.

Any time a district receives a request from a parent for a reevaluation, the district must ensure a reevaluation is conducted unless one has been conducted within the past year. At the September 17, 2015 IEP team meeting, the parent requested a reevaluation. The district did not initiate a reevaluation, and therefore did not properly respond to the parent’s request for a reevaluation.  The district must complete the reevaluation as requested by the parent and send to the department a copy of the IEP documenting the evaluation report. The district must also develop a corrective action plan to ensure parental requests for reevaluations are appropriately addressed.

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 12/9/2015
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support

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