On March 29, 2023 (form dated March 24, 2023), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from #### (complainant) against the #### (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2022-23 school year, properly responded to the request of a parent of a student with a disability for an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting and properly developed the student’s IEP to address behaviors.
The parent of a student with a disability may request an IEP team meeting at any time, and the district should grant any reasonable request for an IEP team meeting. If the district denies the parent's request for an IEP team meeting, the district must provide the parent with a notice of refusal in writing and include an explanation of why the district refuses to grant the request. 34 CFR § 300.503.
All referrals for special education evaluations must be in writing and include the name of the child and the reasons why the person believes that the child is a child with a disability. Wis. Stat. § 115.777(2)(a). Within 15 business days of the district's receipt of the referral, the IEP team, including the student's parent, must conduct a review of existing data to determine what additional data, including information from assessment or other evaluation activities, are needed to complete the evaluation. The district must complete all assessments and hold an IEP team meeting to determine the student's eligibility within 60 days of the district's receipt of the parent's consent to conduct assessments or notify the parent that no additional assessments are needed. 34 CFR §§ 300.304 - 300.306; Wis. Stat. § 115.78(3)(a).
The complainant is the parent of a student with a disability who attends school in the district. Through interviews with district staff, the department’s investigator confirmed that the complainant had discussions with school staff during the fall semester of the 2022-23 school year regarding the student’s needs but that at no time did the complainant request an IEP team meeting that was denied. There were no other instances in which the district responded inappropriately to the complainant’s request for an IEP team meeting during the 2022-23 school year. When the parent submitted a request for a re-evaluation in writing on February 8, 2023, the district responded promptly. The review of existing data was conducted within the 15-business-day timeline, and the eligibility determination was made within the 60-day timeline from the receipt of the parent’s consent for additional assessments. The district did not improperly respond to the parent’s request for an IEP team meeting.
In developing the student's IEP, the IEP team must consider the student's strengths, the parent's concerns, the results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the student, and the student's academic, developmental, and functional needs. The IEP must address the student's needs that result from the student's disability in order to enable the student to be involved in 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) and 300.324(a).
Beginning at the start of the 2022-23 school year, the student’s IEP included specially designed speech and language instruction. That IEP indicated that the student did not have behaviors that impeded their learning or the learning of others.
On February 8, 2023, the complainant requested a re-evaluation of the student, citing an increase in behaviors such as being easily distracted and struggling to maintain focus. A comprehensive re-evaluation was conducted, and on April 20, 2023, the IEP team met and determined the student met the criteria for Other Health Impairment criteria and required specially designed instruction. The IEP team reconvened on May 4, 2023, to develop the annual IEP for the student and added specially designed instruction in maintaining attention and focus twice a week for 30 minutes. The district properly developed the student’s IEP to address behaviors.
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 or contact the special education team at (608) 266-1781.