On May 31, 2000 (letter dated May 8, 2000), a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against the Sun Prairie School District. This complaint alleges a violation of special education law regarding the implementation of programs for children with disabilities.
Pursuant to 34 CFR 300.660-662 of the regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and 115.762(3)(g) and 115.90(1), Wis. Stats., the Department of Public Instruction investigated this complaint. In investigating a complaint, the department reviews a district's compliance with state and federal requirements. In investigating this complaint, department staff reviewed documents and relevant education records submitted by the district as well as documents submitted by the complainants. Department staff spoke by telephone with two of the youth's middle school special education teachers for the 1999-2000 school year.
APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:
Section 115.76, Wisconsin Statutes
In this subchapter:
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(7) "Free appropriate public education" means special education and related services that are provided at public expense and under public supervision and direction, meet the standards of the department, include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education and are provided in conformity with an individualized education program.
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(15) "Special education" means specially designed instruction, regardless of where the instruction is conducted, that is provided at no cost to the child or the child's parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction in physical education.
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(16) "Supplementary aids and services" means aids, services and other supports that are provided in regular education classes or other education-related settings to enable a child with a disability to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.
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Section 115.77, Wisconsin Statutes
Local educational agency duties.
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(1m) A local educational agency shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the division that it does all of the following:
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(b) Makes available a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities as required by this subchapter and applicable state and federal law.
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Section 115.787, Wisconsin Statutes
Individualized education programs.
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(2) REQUIRED COMPONENTS. An individualized education program shall include all of the following:
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(c) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child * * *.
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34 CFR 300.342 When IEPs must be in effect.
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(b) Implementation of IEPs. Each public agency shall ensure that-
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(2) The child's IEP is accessible to each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related service provider, and other service provider who is responsible for its implementation; and
(3) Each teacher and provider described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section is informed of--
(i) His or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the child's IEP; and
(ii) The specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the child in accordance with the IEP.
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ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS:
34 CFR 300, Appendix A, Question 31
31. Must the public agency ensure that all services specified in a child's IEP are provided?
Yes. The public agency must ensure that all services set forth in the child's IEP are provided, consistent with the child's needs as identified in the IEP. * * *
FINDINGS OF FACT:
During the 1999-2000 school year, the youth whose education is the subject of this complaint was an eighth-grade student with a disability who attended the Prairie View Middle School in the Sun Prairie School District. Five individualized education program (IEP) team meetings were held to develop, review and revise the youth's IEP, and offer placement. The parents attended these meetings.
All of the student's IEPs for the 1999-2000 school year require that the district provide "A quiet place to go when the student becomes over-stimulated (i.e., conference room)" "as determined by the staff/student" and "in the classroom," and that the "Parent will be provided with any test/project he receives a D or F" "when grade is below" and "in the classroom." Included in the February 29, 2000; April 4, 2000; and May 18, 2000, IEPs is a statement describing the lead teacher duties relevant to issue #1, "Mom receives copies of any initial D's and F's on tests and projects."
In their complaint, the parents allege that they were not provided with copies of tests and projects for which their son received a D or F. The youth's May 3, 2000, Mid Quarter Progress Report included an F in Science and an F in Math because of prior failing test grades. The parents had not been provided with copies of the tests. Prairie View Middle School students are allowed to retake a test and the better score is recorded when the student fails his or her first test. This practice contributed to the failure to give the parents copies of the youth's initial tests, as required by his IEP, because the district believed it only was required to provide copies of recorded tests graded D or F.
The district did have a process in place for the student to use when he wanted to leave the classroom. The student was to raise his hand until he received visual or verbal teacher confirmation, show his laminated hall pass and then he was free to walk to the main office reception area where he would be given a choice of a quiet place. The student was given the opportunity to spend 5 to 10 minutes in the office conference room, and the district maintains that it was up to the student to determine when he needed to use a quiet place. The district maintains that the student rarely raised his hand to go to a quiet place. The youth's lead special education teacher indicated that all of his teachers were aware of the IEP provision requiring that he is to be permitted to leave when he needs a quiet place.
The complainants maintain that on May 4, 2000, their son verbally requested three times to leave the classroom, but the teacher refused each time to allow him to leave. District staff did not dispute this. Shortly after these refusals by the teacher, the youth had a behavioral outburst that resulted in an in-school detention. In addition, he was not allowed to participate in two school field trips. The parents maintain that the student recognized that he was becoming over-stimulated when he requested to leave the room and that the behavior resulted when he was not permitted to leave.
The complainants allege that the district failed to make their son's February 29, 2000, IEP accessible to school staff responsible for IEP implementation. On May 8, 2000, the complainant reviewed her son's special education file located in the guidance office and indicated that the February 29, 2000, IEP was not in the file. The youth's special education teachers stated that there was a current copy of the IEP in their classrooms. They also said that during the fall the regular education teachers responsible for implementing the student's IEP received an individual student profile sheet describing their responsibilities for implementing the youth's IEP and that they had access to his current IEP in their classrooms.
A local educational agency (LEA) must provide each child with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE). An LEA meets its obligation to provide FAPE to a child in part by providing special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services and program modifications or supports for school personnel in conformity with an IEP. The services provided must be stated in the IEP so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members. An LEA must ensure that a student is provided with all services required in the child's IEP.
Each of the student's IEPs for the 1999-2000 school year required the school district to provide the parents with copies of their son's tests and projects for which he received a D or F. The February, Apri, and May IEPs require that the parents be provided with copies of initial tests for which their son receives a D or F. The district did not implement this requirement when it failed to provide the parents with tests for which the youth received failing grades prior to the May 3, 2000, Mid Quarter Progress Report. There is a violation related to this portion of issue #1. Each of the student's IEPs for the 1999-2000 school year specified that the student would be provided with a quiet place to go when he became over-stimulated. The district agrees that the student was to make this determination. On May 4, 2000, the youth requested three times to leave the classroom for a quiet place and three times the teacher refused. There is a violation related to this portion of issue #1.
An LEA must ensure that IEPs are accessible to each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related service provider, and other service provider who is responsible for its implementation. An LEA also must ensure that each teacher is informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the child's IEP. The special education teachers responsible for the complainant's son's IEP had a copy of the current IEP in their classrooms. All teachers responsible for implementing the student's IEP had an individual student profile sheet describing their responsibilities for implementing the youth's IEP and had access to the current IEPs in the special education teacher's classrooms. Issue #2 of the complaint is not substantiated.
The Sun Prairie School District shall, within 30 days of receipt of this report, submit to the department a corrective action plan (CAP) to ensure that the youth is provided services consistent with his IEP, and that all high school special and regular education teachers implement the IEP provisions for which they are responsible (issue #1).
The CAP shall include the activities the district will undertake to implement the directives, the personnel responsible for each activity, the date by which each activity will be completed, and the type of documentation that will be submitted to the department as evidence of completion of each activity. If a CAP requires the district to develop one or more products, the district may submit the product(s) as part of the corrective action plan. The CAP will be reviewed and the district will be informed if any revisions are required. The district will implement the CAP after it has been approved by the department.
This concludes our investigation of this complaint. This letter is not intended, and should not be construed, to cover any other issues regarding compliance with the IDEA or Chapter 115, Wisconsin Statutes, which may exist and which are not specifically discussed herein. Under the Wisconsin public records law, 19.31-19.39, Wisconsin Statutes, it may be necessary to release this document and related correspondence and records upon request.
Mike J. Thompson, Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy