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IDEA Complaint Decision 17-077

On November 2, 2017 (form dated October 27, 2017), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2017-2018 school year, properly followed special education disciplinary requirements.

A school district must provide educational services to a student with a disability when a student is removed for violating the school’s code of conduct for more than 10 cumulative school days in a school year. The educational services provided must enable the student to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s individualized education program (IEP).

Out-of-school suspensions are considered removals. In-school suspensions must be considered removals unless the student has the opportunity to continue to participate in the general curriculum, receive the services specified in the IEP, and to participate with nondisabled children to the extent the student would have in the current placement.

District records and interviews demonstrate the student received out-of-school suspensions due to violations of school code of conduct on September 21, 22, 26, 27, and 28; and October 16, 17, 18, 20, 23, 24, 25, and 26. The student’s 11th day of suspension was October 24. The district provided the student with educational services for the October 24 removal, but did not provide services for the subsequent two removals. The district acknowledges that the student was suspended more than 10 cumulative school days and the district did not provide educational services for all days of removal.

On November 3, 2017, the IEP team met and determined the student required two hours of 1:1 specialized instruction by a special education teacher as compensatory services for the district’s failure to provide educational services for all days of removal. The services were provided that same day. No additional student level corrective action is required. The district has developed procedures to ensure special education disciplinary procedures are properly followed, and to identify and promptly correct any violations. In this instance, the district identified the noncompliance prior to the department’s receipt of this complaint and promptly took appropriate corrective action. The district is also engaged in ongoing professional development and monitoring of schools in this area. As the district has already established an effective system for identifying and correcting noncompliance, no further district-wide corrective action is needed.

This concludes our review of this complaint. This decision is final for the IDEA State Complaint process. 

//signed CST 12/29/2017
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support
For questions about this information, contact Margaret Resan (608) 267-9158