IDEA Complaint Decision 02-009

On February 8, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Rhinelander School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district:

  • during the 2000-2001 school year, failed to develop the student's IEP in a timely manner;
  • during the 2000-2001 school year, failed to implement provisions of the student's IEP related to: adjusted curriculum, verbal testing, hearing assistance, and providing weekly notice to the parent of missing work and low test grades; and
  • has failed to provide special education services to the student since he reenrolled in the district in January 2002.

On July 24, 2000, the student's mother referred him for an initial evaluation to determine eligibility for special education. The IEP team evaluated the student, developed an IEP, and determined placement at an IEP team meeting on October 5, 2000. The district provided notice of the IEP team meeting to the mother and discussed the meeting with her. The mother declined the district's offers to reschedule the meeting for any other date. The mother did not attend the IEP team meeting. The district hand-delivered the IEP and placement notice to the mother on October 5, 2000, and provided another copy of the IEP and placement notice to her on October 12, 2000. The mother did not provide consent for the child's initial placement in special education until January 31, 2001. The department concludes that the district completed the student's initial evaluation, developed the IEP, and determined placement within 90 days of the date of referral, as required by law.

After the mother consented to the student's initial placement in special education on January 31, 2001, the district began providing special education services to the child in accordance with his IEP. The mother began home-schooling the student on March 5, 2001, and withdrew him from high school in the district for the remainder of the 2000-2001 school year. Between January 31 and March 5, 2001, there were 15.5 school days in the district. The department concludes there is no evidence that the district failed to implement the provisions of the student's IEP between January 31 and March 5, 2001.

The student's mother enrolled him in the Wausau School District at the beginning of the 2001-2002 school year. On January 4 and 7, 2002, the mother met with Rhinelander School District staff and informed them that she wanted to enroll her son for the second semester in the ADVANCE program at Nicolet Area Technical College (NATC), which is an alternative high school program offered by the district. Second semester classes began on January 28, 2002. According to the district, the mother emphasized that she did not want her son to attend the Rhinelander high school or to receive special education services from the district.

On January 8, 2002, the district requested the student's special education records from Wausau School District. On January 14, 2002, the district notified the mother that NATC staff were out on winter break until January 21, and scheduled a meeting with the mother, district staff, and NATC staff for January 25, 2002. On January 17, 2002, the mother withdrew her son from the Wausau School District. On January 25, 2002, the mother and student met with district and NATC staff and arranged for him to begin classes on January 28, the first day of the second semester.

The district informed the department that the mother called the school on January 28, 2002, and said her son would not attend school that day because he was sleeping. On January 29, the student arrived late to school and attended classes for only three hours. On that same date, the district received the student's special education records from the Wausau School District and adopted his IEP from Wausau on January 30, 2002.

Between January 30 and February 8, 2002, the student attended school one day for only an hour and a half. On February 8, 2002, the district received attendance records from NATC and notice that the student was removed from the program for failure to attend. On that same date, the district sent the mother a notice of her son's habitual truancy and called her to schedule a meeting regarding her son's truancy. Also on that date, the mother withdrew her son from the district and filed the department's form to begin home-schooling her son.

The student attended school in the district for only four and a half hours between January 28 and February 8, 2002. The district adopted the student's IEP from Wausau School District and notified the mother of the student's habitual truancy. The department concludes that the district did not fail to provide special education services to the student in January 2002.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed 4/5/02 by SJP
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

dec/smp
For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720