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IDEA Complaint Decision 17-090

On December 11, 2017 (form dated December 6, 2017), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Lancaster Community School District (district). The issues are whether the district, since December 11, 2016:

  • Properly followed special education disciplinary requirements;
  • Properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability; and
  • Properly provided the parents of a student with a disability a copy of the student’s revised IEP prior to its implementation.

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 a 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 IEP. In-school suspensions must be considered disciplinary removals unless the child 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.

On November 28, 2017, the student received a disciplinary referral. The student was suspended from school for one day and one class period. This is the only suspension the student received this school year. Since the student has not been removed from the general education curriculum for more than 10 cumulative school days, the special education disciplinary requirements do not apply. The district properly followed special education disciplinary requirements.

Properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability

Local education agencies (LEAs) must provide a free appropriate public education to each student with a disability by developing a program that meets the student’s unique needs, documenting that program in the IEP, and implementing the program articulated in the IEP. At the beginning of each school year, each LEA must have an IEP in effect for each child with a disability, and services must be provided to the student in accordance with the student’s IEP. The district must inform all regular education teachers, special education teachers, related service providers, and other service providers of the student of their specific responsibilities related to implementing the student’s IEP. The services must be stated in the IEP in a manner clear to all who are involved in both the development and the implementation of the IEP.

On June 27, 2017, the IEP team met to develop the student’s annual IEP. The statement of present level of academic achievement and functional performance detailed the student’s needs related to current performance and included how the student’s disability affects the student’s involvement in the general education curriculum. The IEP team developed annual goals related to learning skills and math. Each annual goal was measurable, addressed the student’s needs, and included how and when the parent would be informed of progress. The IEP included specialized instruction and academic support. The IEP team developed supplementary aids and services to support the student in the special education and general education environment that included, but were not limited to, movement activities, technology to take pictures of assignments, list of the student’s stress triggers, extra time for processing, chunk long assignments, tests taken orally, and extended time to turn in homework, and assistance with long term assignment planning. Documentation provided by the district and district staff interviews demonstrates the student received all the supplementary aids and services as written in the student’s IEP. The district properly implemented the student’s IEP services.

Properly provided the parents of a student with a disability a copy of the student’s revised IEP prior to its implementation

After the development or revision of each IEP, and prior to the IEP’s implementation, the parents must be provided with written notice. This notice must include a copy of the new or revised IEP and be given a reasonable time before the IEP is implemented. On October 5, 2017, the district sent the parent an invitation to an IEP meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to review and revise the IEP. It was not the student’s annual IEP team meeting. The IEP team, including the parents, met on October 13, 2017. The IEP team made no changes to the student’s IEP. As such, the district was not required to provide the parents with written notice following the meeting.

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

//signed CST 2/9/2018
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support
For questions about this information, contact Margaret Resan (608) 267-9158