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IDEA Complaint Decision 19-051

On July 16, 2019, 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 that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2018-2019 school year, properly followed special education disciplinary procedures for a student with a disability.

If the student’s behavior impedes his learning or that of others, the individualized education program (IEP) team must consider the use of positive behavioral interventions, supports, and other strategies to address that behavior (34 CFR § 300.324[a][2]).If a student with a disability has been removed for disciplinary reasons for more than ten cumulative school days in the same school year, the school district must provide educational services to the student during each subsequent period of removal. The services provided must enable the student to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to make progress toward meeting the student’s IEP goals.

The IEP of the student who is the subject of this complaint indicates the student’s behavior impacts the student’s learning and the learning of others. The student’s IEP contains positive interventions and supports including adult support to monitor emotional regulation and impulse control, breaks throughout the school day to help the student calm and re-focus, implementation of a behavior intervention plan (BIP), and strategic seating away from distracting peers. The student also received specially designed instruction in self-regulation and study skills, including coping strategies, identification of triggers, and building independence as described in the student’s IEP.

On October 4, 2018, the student was involved in a behavioral incident with another student that resulted in a one-day suspension. On October 17, the student had a physical altercation with another student, resulting in a three-day suspension. On December 17, the student had a verbal altercation with a staff member and received a half-day suspension. On January 3, 2019, the student was involved in a verbal altercation with another student. When administration became involved the student refused to go to the office and then was escorted to the office by the school police liaison, which resulted in a two-day suspension. On May 15, the student was involved in a physical altercation with another student in gym class. When a staff member intervened the student had a verbal altercation with the staff member and this resulted in a one-day suspension. These suspensions total seven and a half days of disciplinary removals during the 2018-19 school year. Review of records and interviews confirm these were the only disciplinary removals for the student during the 2018-19 school year. Since the student was not removed for more than ten days, the district was not required to provide services during the removals. 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.

Sincerely,

//signed by BVH 9/12/19
Barbara Van Haren, PhD
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support
BVH:mth

For questions about this information, contact DPI Sped Team (608) 266-1781