On May 29, 2018 (letter dated May 23, 2018), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (complainant) against the Ashland School District (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) for a student with a disability regarding provision of an iPad.
The student’s IEP states the student needs assistive technology devices to assist with reading including visual aids to enlarge print and an iPad to access school curriculum and assignments at home. The IEP includes a goal for the student to “correctly and efficiently use low vision aids including [the student’s] VisioBook, iPad, dome magnifier, line guide or slant board” each day. Under supplementary aids and services, the IEP states the student “may use visual aids; VisioBook, magnifier, iPad, and slant board on all assignments and tests” in the regular education and special education environments. During the 2017-18 school year, the screen on the student’s district issued iPad became cracked, but the student continued to use the iPad. At the January 30, 2018, IEP team meeting, the district agreed to replace the damaged iPad. In February, the district took the iPad from the student for repair, but determined the iPad was irreparable and ordered a new iPad for the student. The first replacement iPad sent to the district was defective and had to be returned. On May 23, following concerns expressed by the student’s parent regarding the ongoing lack of an iPad for the student, the district provided the student with a replacement iPad to use while waiting for the arrival of the iPad ordered for the student. The district acknowledges the student did not have access to an iPad from February 1 to May 23. The student had access to other visual aids including a portable VisioBook, slant board and magnifier, as well as the district issued Chromebook with access to the school curriculum and assignments and text enlargement capability. The student preferred to use the iPad and did not chose to use other available devices during that time.
The district is responsible for ensuring a student with a disability receives a free appropriate public education by providing special education services in conformity with the student’s IEP. An iPad is one of the specified supplementary aids in the student’s IEP that the student may use as a visual aid in the regular and special education environments. The district did not provide the iPad in conformity with the student’s IEP. The district must verify all supplementary aids specified in the student’s IEP for the 2018-19 school year are available to the student on the first day of school.
//signed CST:bvh 7/25/2018