On April 15, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Elk Mound School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the period February 4 to April 12, 2002, improperly disciplined a child with a disability and failed to implement the child's individualized educational programs (IEPs).
This complaint relates to a student who requires special education due to an emotional behavioral disability. On August 28, 2001, an IEP team convened by the Elk Mound School District, the student's resident district, placed the student in an alternative program operated in a School District of the Menomonie Area charter school. On February 4, 2002, the student wrote a note threatening another student at the charter school. On February 6 a county judge ordered that the student could have no contact with the alternative school program. It was not until March 11 that Elk Mound district staff learned that the student had not been attending school. Although the court rescinded its order prior to March 11, the alternative school had directed the student not to return until a meeting of the board of governance was held. On March 26 the board determined that the student would not be permitted to return to the alternative school.
On March 19 the Elk Mound School district sent the student and his parents an invitation to an IEP team meeting. The meeting was held March 25 with the parents and student attending. The team discussed placing the student into a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) program, but concluded the meeting to enable contact with program representatives to ensure placement could be arranged. An IEP team met again on April 9 and placed the student in the HSED program. The student began attending the program on April 15.
The Elk Mound School District acknowledged in its response to the department that it failed to implement the student's IEP between February 4 and April 12, 2002. Although the student's IEP required periodic contact between staff of the two districts, contact did not occur between February 4 and March 11. Although the Elk Mound School District did hold IEP team meetings between March 11 and April 12, special education services were not provided to the student during this period. The district has agreed to offer compensatory services to the student covering the period when he did not receive special education services enabling him to expedite completion of his HSED.
The district is required to provide needed special education services when a student is enrolled in an HSED program. The student's IEP must specify those services. The district will conduct an IEP team meeting within 30 days of receiving this decision to determine needed compensatory services and needed special education services while the student is enrolled in the HSED program. The district will submit documentation of completion of these activities by August 1, 2002. The district also has agreed to ensure that IEPs for students placed in the charter school in the future will include more explicit communication requirements, including maintaining documentation that the contacts have been made, and that staff in both districts will receive written information regarding this requirement. The district will submit to the department the written communication to staff by August 1.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 5/31/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy