On December 1, 2016, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2016-17 school year, properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability regarding provision of direct adult supervision and school health services.
A school district must provide each child with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. A school district meets its obligation to provide FAPE to a child with a disability, in part, by providing the special education services specified in the student’s IEP. The complaint states the district failed to provide direct adult supervision and nursing services as required by the IEP beginning September 1, 2016.
The IEP in effect at the start of the 2016-17 school year required, as a supplementary service, “close adult support” at all times. The student’s IEP also included the related services of transportation in a wheelchair to and from school five times per week, and school health services one time per day for 15 minutes with reference to the student’s individualized student health plan.
The student’s IEP team met on September 28, 2016, to review and revise the student’s IEP. The IEP team discussed and agreed the student needed an assistant on the bus to help with the student’s posture and physical alignment in his wheelchair. Transportation services were revised to include adding an assistant on the bus to adjust and straighten the student to make sure there was good alignment while traveling on the bus to and from school five days a week. The supplementary service of “close adult support” was changed to “direct adult support” during all daily living activities, moving around the halls and building, and in the community. The district defines “direct adult support” as an adult within arms’ reach, assisting more than one student at a time. The revised related services were to be provided between October 3, and December 7, 2016. Although an assistant employed by the bus company was on the student’s assigned bus, the assistant was not allowed to adjust the student’s body position or touch the student. The transportation service as described in the September 28, 2016, IEP, was not provided between October 3, and November 14, 2016.
The student’s IEP team next met on November 3, 2016, to conduct a reevaluation including determination of continuing eligibility, placement, and to develop an annual IEP. The IEP team discussed the student’s increasing medical needs. The parent explained the student’s physician recommended the student be provided with a skilled nurse in the school setting to attend to the medical needs and maintain safety. The parent explained the student needed personal care, provided by a medically trained person, during the school day, on the bus, and in the community. The IEP team revised the student’s IEP to require “direct adult supervision” throughout the school day, on the bus, and during community field trips to be provided between November 14, 2016, and November 2, 2017. The district defines “direct adult supervision” as an adult with one student for immediate behavioral, functional, or instructional needs. Direct adult supervision has not been provided as required by the November 3 IEP.
The IEP includes school health services one time per day for 10 minutes, which were provided consistently throughout the school year. The individualized student health plan dated November 4, 2016, includes G-tube feedings. On November 14, 2016, the student’s G-tube became disconnected, and district staff did not have authorization to reconnect the G-tube. The student’s parent was at the school and was able to assist the student. When the district does not have authorization to reconnect the G-tube, the district procedure is to cover the opening with a gauze pad and follow physician’s instructions. On December 7, 2016, the student’s health plan was revised to include information as to what to do if the G-tube came out. The revised health plan provides that if the G-tube comes out, the opening should be covered with a gauze dressing and the mother should be contacted immediately.
On November 28, 2016, an IEP team meeting was conducted to review and revise the student’s IEP and determine placement. The IEP team met to discuss whether the direct adult supervision required a medically trained individual. Both of the student’s parents attended the meeting and provided additional medical information to explain why they believe an appropriately medically trained assistant was needed to provide service to the student on the bus and during the school day. No determinations were made during this meeting. As corrective action, the district must reconvene the IEP team within 10 days from the date of this decision and determine what kind of training is required for staff members who provide the direct adult supervision. In addition, the district must provide confirmation to the department within 15 days from the date of this decision that direct adult supervision as specified in the IEP is being provided both on the bus and during the school day.
Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit to the department a corrective action plan to ensure implementation of IEPs. The corrective action plan must include the following:
- Review and revise the district’s internal control system to ensure that all IEPs are implemented;
- In conjunction with department staff, monitor the implementation of IEPs in all district schools; and
- In conjunction with department staff, develop and implement a professional development plan to ensure district special education staff and building administrators understand the revised policy on close adult support, direct adult support, and direct adult supervision IEP services.
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 1/30/2017
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support