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IDEA Complaint Decision 21-020

On June 3, 2021 (form dated May 29, 2021), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from ### (complainant) against the #### School District (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2020-21 school year, properly developed and implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability regarding behavior.

In developing the student’s IEP, the IEP team must consider the student's strengths, the concerns of the parents, the results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the student, and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the student. The IEP must address the student’s needs that result from the student’s disability to enable the student to be involved and make appropriate progress in the general education curriculum and meet the student’s other educational needs that result from the student’s disability. The IEP must include a statement of the special education services to be provided to the student, and if the student’s IEP team determines the student’s behavior impedes the student’s learning or that of others, the IEP team must consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports to address the behavior. 34 CFR §§ 300.320(a), 300.324(a).

The student who is the subject of this complaint had two IEPs in effect during the 2020-21 school year. Both indicate that the student’s behavior impedes the student’s learning or the learning of others. During the 2020-21 school year, the student engaged in behaviors such as pinching, biting, and running into the adjoining classroom on several occasions. All members of the student’s IEP team, including the student’s parents, agree these behaviors largely stem from the student’s communication needs and the frustration that results when the student is not able to communicate wants or needs quickly and clearly. The student’s IEP team met on February 26, 2021, to develop the student’s annual IEP. The IEP team discussed the student’s behavior at that IEP team meeting. The IEP team continued services of visual daily schedules, sensory breaks, communication-based assistive technology, speech and language services, and 30 minutes of daily specially designed instruction in social skills. The IEP team added additional visual communication tools and supports to the student’s IEP. The district and the student’s parents agreed to waive the student’s reevaluation that would have been due in March 2021.

The student had a behavior intervention plan (BIP) in place during the 2020-21 school year. After an incident that occurred on March 3, 2021, that resulted in the student being sent home from school, the student’s parent requested a meeting to revise the student’s BIP. On March 8, 2021, school staff met virtually with the student’s parent and revised the BIP regarding communication with the parent. On March 10, 2021, staff members who work with the student were informed of the changes, and staff reviewed how the student’s communication needs impacted the student’s behavior. The BIP was implemented throughout the 2020-21 school year, and the student’s behavior improved over the course of the school year. The district properly developed and implemented the student’s IEP regarding behavior.

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


Paul A. Manriquez
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support