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IDEA Complaint Decision 18-043

On May 3, 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 the complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2017-2018 school year, properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability.

School districts must ensure each student with a disability receives a free appropriate public education by providing special education services in conformity with the student’s IEP. The student’s IEP must be accessible to school staff responsible for its implementation. The district must also inform staff of their specific responsibilities related to implementing each student’s IEP.

The student’s IEP for the 2017-18 school year includes 60 minutes each day of “check in and out and throughout the day to help supervise and maintain behaviors,” and 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week of social skills instruction to teach self-regulation strategies. The student’s special education case manager “checks in” with the student at the start of each day to review goals and expectations and periodically throughout the day to monitor progress, and “checks out” with the student at the end of the day to reinforce positive behaviors that have occurred during the day and discuss areas for improvement for a total of 60 minutes during the day. The case manager also provides social skills instruction as required by the IEP.

In November 2017, the IEP team developed a behavior intervention plan (BIP) for the student based on a functional behavioral assessment. In December, all staff working with the student attended a meeting to learn about the BIP and their specific responsibilities. The case manager met with each staff member not able to attend the meeting. The BIP was implemented on January 2, 2018. The BIP includes a variety of positive behavioral interventions and supports such as allowing student choice, student breaks, and reinforcement of positive behaviors. Every time the student engages in talking out, wandering, or other behavior that impedes the teacher’s ability to teach and/or the ability of students to learn, district staff implement a “1, 2, 3 behavior management system” whereby the student receives positive instructive “redirection” up to three times before the student must stay after school for 15 minutes. Each classroom teacher rates the student on behavior daily and records the rating in an electronic database monitored by the student’s case manager. If the student’s behavior rises to the level of harm or disruption, the BIP calls for the student to be redirected by the classroom teacher and relocated to the special education classroom, if available. The classroom teacher completes a disciplinary referral and notifies the student’s guardian.

At the end of January and March, district staff met with the student’s guardian to review the behavior intervention plan. Some staff members acknowledged they were not consistently following the

“1, 2, 3 behavior management system” or relocating the student to the special education classroom when available, instead of directly to the office. During the meetings, staff were reminded of the importance of following the BIP as written. The district has taken additional steps to ensure each staff member follows IEPs and BIPs as written.

The district failed to properly implement the BIP included in the IEP of a student with a disability during the 2017-18 school year. The district has taken steps to ensure staff properly implement BIPs as written. The district must also conduct monthly verification activities during the first three months of the 2018-19 school year to verify BIPs are properly implemented at the middle school and high school.

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. This decision is final for the IDEA State Complaint process.

//signed CST:bvh 6/25/2018
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support