On March 5, 2018, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (parent) against the Racine Unified School District (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are related to the 2017-18 school year and are addressed individually below.
Whether the district properly developed and implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability regarding positive behavior interventions, and supports, and program modifications or supports for school personnel
An IEP is a written statement for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised during an IEP team meeting by a properly constituted IEP team. Each student’s IEP must include a statement of the special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports for school staff based on each student’s unique needs. Services in IEPs must be described in a manner that is clear to all involved in developing and implementing the IEP. Districts must ensure staff responsible for implementing the student’s IEP are informed of their specific responsibilities. Districts have discretion in determining which specific personnel are assigned to staff positions.
The student’s IEP was revised several times during the 2017-2018 school year. On February 21, 2018, the IEP was revised, including, as a supplementary aid and service, “adult support in electives” to be provided in special education and general education settings. School staff responsible for implementing the IEP understood this service to mean the student was to receive one-to-one adult support throughout the school day. The student has been provided one-to-one assistance throughout the school day, either by a paraprofessional or the student’s special education teacher. The district properly developed and implemented the student’s IEP.
Properly followed special education disciplinary procedures for a student with a disability
Districts 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. Out-of-school suspensions are considered removals. Within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a student with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct, the student’s IEP team must determine if the conduct in question was a manifestation of the student’s disability. A disciplinary change in educational placement for a child with a disability occurs when a child is removed from his or her current educational placement for more than ten consecutive school days or when the student has been subjected to a series of removals that constitute a pattern. A series of removals constitute a pattern when the student has been removed for more than 10 cumulative school days in a single year, the student’s behavior is substantially similar to previous incidents; and other additional factors are considered, such as the length of each removal, the total amount of time removed, and the proximity of removals to one another. Districts have discretion to determine when an incident requires the involvement of police or other law enforcement.
District records and interviews demonstrate the student received out-of-school suspensions due to violations of school code of conduct on September 26, 27, 28, 2017, and on March 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7, 2018. On February 28, 2018, the student engaged in a behavior which required school staff to follow the district’s emergency response plan, which included contacting police. The student was not removed from school for more than 10 cumulative school days, the district did not move to consideration of expulsion, and the student’s educational placement was not changed due to discipline. The student’s IEP team was not required to determine if the conduct in question was a manifestation of the student’s disability or to provide educational services on days of removal. The district properly followed special education disciplinary procedures for a student with a disability.
This concludes our review of this complaint. This decision is final for the IDEA State Complaint process.