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IDEA Complaint Decision 20-057

On October 8, 2020 (form dated October 5, 2020), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (complainant) against XXXXX (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, since September 1, 2020, properly implemented the individualized education programs (IEPs) of two students with disabilities, who are siblings. In this decision, the older student shall be referred to as “Student A,” and the younger student will be referred to as “Student B.”

School districts must provide each student with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. School districts meet their obligation to provide FAPE to each student with a disability, in part, by developing and implementing each student’s IEP. The IEP must include clear descriptions of the amount, frequency, location, and duration of services, so the school district’s commitment of resources is clear to the parent and all involved in developing and implementing the IEP. Staff responsible for implementing the student’s IEP must be informed of their specific responsibilities. (34 CFR § 300.323; Wis. Stat. § 115.787).

Student A

When the 2020-21 school year began, the district was providing Student A with in-person instruction two days per week and virtual instruction three days per week. At that time, the student’s IEP included a daily check-in, specially designed instruction for social skills and emotional regulation twice a week for 20 minutes per session, and a speech and language consultation once per week for 10 minutes. Documentation review and interviews with school staff indicate that the student did not receive a check-in every day and did not receive specially designed instruction two times per week at the beginning of the school year as was written in the student’s IEP. In interviews, district staff explained there was confusion surrounding the implementation of the IEP at the beginning of the school year, as it was written under the assumption that the student would be attending school in-person full time.

On September 14, 2020, the student’s IEP team met. The amount of specially designed instruction was reduced to 30 minutes, once per week. The daily check-ins and speech and language services remained unchanged. A review of district provided documentation indicates that the district did not provide the student with a daily check-in after these changes were made. The district did not properly implement the student’s IEP.

Within 20 days from the date of this decision, the IEP team must meet to determine whether and to what extent compensatory services are required due to the failure to implement the student’s IEP. Within ten days of the IEP team meeting, the district must provide the department with a copy of the revised IEP documenting the discussion and determination of compensatory services.

Student B

The IEP of Student B requires transportation as a related service, including the use of a five-point harness every time the student rides the bus. On October 5, 2020, while riding the bus from child care to school, the student was put in a seat without a five-point harness. During the ride, the student was not properly secured and fell from their seat. In this instance, the district did not properly implement the IEP of a student with a disability.

Since this incident, the district has implemented a new policy for students who require supplementary aids and services on the bus. The bus company sends a confirmation email to the district once the driver has been notified or trained on which students require additional support for their bus. The district has provided documentation to the department regarding the new policy. No further 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. These issues may be addressed through other dispute resolutions, including mediation and due process hearings. For more information, visit the department’s website at http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/dispute-resolution.

Sincerely,

Barbara Van Haren, PhD
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support

 

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