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IDEA Complaint Decision 18-080

On October 29, 2018, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (parent) against the XXXXX (district). This is the department’s decision regarding the complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2018-19 school year:
  • Properly developed the individualized education program (IEP) of a student regarding the provision of a one-to-one aide; and
  • Properly responded to a parent request for an IEP team meeting.
Properly developed the individualized education program (IEP) of a student regarding the provision of a one-to-one aide

In developing each child’s IEP, the IEP team must consider the strengths of the child, the concerns of the parent for enhancing the child’s education, and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child. (34 CFR § 300.324) The IEP should include a statement of the special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services that will enable the child to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals, to make progress in the general curriculum, and to be educated with other children in the school’s program. (34 CFR § 300.320) The provision of a one-to-one aide is a supplementary aid or service that may be specified by an IEP team.

The student’s IEP in effect at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year specified the student required direct adult support while in the classroom to ensure the student’s safety and provide for the student’s medical needs. At some time during the day on September 20, 2018, the student was injured, either while on the bus traveling to school or at school. The parent requested the IEP team meet to discuss concerns about the student’s safety while at school. The IEP team met on October 4 and again on November 7. The IEP team reviewed the student’s academic and functional needs and specified the student be provided one-to-one educational assistance during the full school day. The district properly developed the IEP for the student regarding provision of a one-to-one aide.

Properly responded to a parent request for an IEP team meeting

A parent may request an IEP team meeting at any time, and a district should respond to any reasonable request from a parent for a meeting to review the student’s IEP. A district must take steps to ensure one or both of the parents of a child are present at an IEP team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate. The district must notify the parents of the meeting early enough to ensure they have an opportunity to attend and must schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place. (34 CFR § 300.322(a)) If a child’s parent or district staff member determines at any IEP team meeting that additional time is needed to permit meaningful parental participation, the district must provide it. (Wis. Stats. §115.78 (3) (d))

The IEP team meeting on October 4 ended when the parent left the meeting in the middle of a contentious discussion about the provision of a one-to-one aide for the student. As the parent left the meeting, she requested to suspend the meeting for a future date. The parent contacted the district on October 16 to inquire why a follow-up IEP team meeting had not been scheduled. The district then scheduled an IEP team meeting for November 7. Under these circumstances, the district should have initiated contact with the parent to schedule a follow-up IEP team meeting, not wait for the parent to contact the district. The district did not properly respond to the parents request for an IEP team meeting.

Within 30 days the district shall submit to the department a corrective action plan specifying how the district will ensure all staff understand and comply with the requirements for allowing additional time for meaningful parental participation in IEP team meetings and for responding to parent requests for IEP team meetings. No student level corrective action is required.

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 12/20/2018
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support