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IDEA Complaint Decision 18-020

On March 1, 2018 (form dated February 27, 2018), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (complainant) against the XXXXX (district). This is the department’s decision regarding this complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2017-18 school year, properly implemented an individualized education program (IEP) for student with a disability.

School districts 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 as articulated in the IEP. School health services are included in the IEP as a related service if the student needs them in order to benefit from special education. School health services are services that may be provided by a school nurse or delegated to another qualified person.

The student who is the subject of this complaint has significant health needs and receives meals through a gastrostomy tube (g-tube.) The IEP in effect for the student at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year indicated the student was to receive school health services to provide g-tube feeding, 300 minutes weekly, in a special education environment. The student had meals two times per day, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. At the beginning of the school year the student received both meals in a room away from peers accompanied only by the adult assisting the student. On October 10, 2017, the student’s annual IEP was developed and the g-tube feeding was increased to 450 minutes weekly to allow the student to eat the first meal in the lunchroom with peers. Specific information regarding the student’s feeding procedures were documented in the student’s health plan maintained by the school nurse.

G-tube feeding is a school health task that may be delegated to other non-nurse staff provided those staff are appropriately trained. Before the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, the school nurse conducted training for district staff in safe g-tube feeding and on the student’s individual needs. District staff responsible for feeding kept a detailed log of each meal, including the start time, end time, and amount of formula. The student’s feeding arrangements were modified during the school year multiple times, including changing the amount and type of formula, changing location of the student’s meals, and transitioning to the use of a continuous pump for feeding at school. During each modification, school staff worked with the parent, school nurse, and the student’s physician to ensure proper documentation was in place. The student’s parent supplied only the number of cans of formula the student would need each week. The student was frequently absent from school due to the student’s health condition, including several days when the student attended school in the morning but left midday before the second meal. The student’s parent decided to withdraw the student from school in February 2018. When the parent withdrew the student from school, several cans of unused formula were returned to the parent. The student’s parent became concerned the student had not been provided meals in accordance with the IEP. However, documentation provided by the district demonstrates staff consistently provided meals to the student when the student was in attendance. The unused cans of formula were from meals the student missed due to absences. The district properly implemented the student’s IEP regarding school health services.

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

//signed CST 4/20/2018
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support
CST:mhr
For questions about this information, contact Margaret Resan (608) 267-9158