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IDEA Complaint Decision 16-017

On March 17, 2016, (form dated March 13, 2016), the Department of Public Instruction (department) 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 2015-16 school year, properly followed parental notification and individualized education program review requirements following the use of physical restraint and/or seclusion with a student with a disability.

Under Wisconsin law, the use of physical restraint and seclusion in public schools is prohibited unless a 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. Physical restraint or seclusion may only be used as long as it is necessary to resolve the imminent safety risk. Following the first use of seclusion or physical restraint on a student with a disability, the student’s individualized education program (IEP) team must meet as soon as possible to review the student’s IEP to ensure it contains appropriate positive behavioral interventions and supports and other strategies to address the behavior of concern, and revise it if necessary. When an IEP team reasonably anticipates that physical restraint or seclusion may be used with a student with a disability, its use must be clearly specified in the student’s IEP and the IEP must include positive behavioral interventions, supports, and strategies based on a functional behavior assessment (FBA). If physical restraint or seclusion is used on a student at school, the principal or designee must, within one business day after the incident, notify the student’s parent of the use of physical restraint and/or seclusion and the availability of a written report. Within two business days of the incident, the principal or designee must prepare a written report describing the incident, and the report must be made available to the parents within three business days of the incident.

The student was placed in a foster home in the district in December, but the parents’ rights were not terminated. The district acknowledges the parent was not notified of seclusion and/or restraint incidents. District staff erroneously relied on a social worker to share information with the parents. After the first time the student was secluded and restrained on December 18, 2015, the district did not hold an IEP team meeting to clearly specify physical restraint or seclusion may be used, and did not update the IEP to include positive behavioral interventions, supports and strategies based on an FBA. In April 2016, the IEP team conducted an FBA, revised the IEP to include positive behavioral, supports and interventions that were based on the FBA, and clearly specified that restraint and/or seclusion may be used if an imminent safety risk is present.

Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the district must hold an IEP team meeting to consider whether compensatory services are required to address the delay in revising the student’s IEP to include positive behavioral interventions and supports. The district must also submit a corrective action plan within 30 days from the date of this decision to ensure staff will be properly trained in seclusion and restraint reporting procedures, all IEPs of students with whom physical restraint or seclusion is reasonably anticipated contain required components, and IEP teams convene as required following the first use of physical restraint or seclusion with students with disabilities.

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 5/13/2016
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support


For questions about this information, contact Margaret Resan (608) 267-9158