IDEA Complaint Decision 03-009

On February 11, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Mequon-Thiensville School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district:

  • Properly responded to the parent's request in February 2002 for a copy of one of her child's education records;
  • Properly responded to the parent's request in April 2002 to amend her child's education records; and
  • Properly transferred the student's records to another Wisconsin school district following the student's withdrawal from the district in November 2001.

On November 26, 2001, the parent referred her child to the district for a special education evaluation. The child attended the district under open enrollment until November 27 when the parent withdrew the child in order to home school her child. On January 29, 2002, an IEP team meeting was held and it was determined that the student was not a child with a disability. On February 19, the parent sent the district a letter requesting a copy of the Connor's Teacher Rating Scales completed during the evaluation. She received a letter from the pupil services director stating that the district no longer had a copy of the completed test protocol because it was destroyed shortly after the January IEP team meeting as a standard district procedure. The director also indicated that the school psychologist did not share the test protocol with the parent and IEP team members, but did share a graphic summary of the results which were incorporated into the evaluation findings report.

Test protocols that contain personally identifiable information, such as the child's name, are pupil records. The Connor's Teacher Rating Scales did identify the student by name. A district is required to provide parents, on request, access to their child's education records maintained by the district without unnecessary delay and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made. In this case, the protocol was not maintained by the district and it no longer existed when the parent made the request.

On April 18, the parent requested that her child's IEP team evaluation findings report be amended. In a letter to the parent, the pupil services director stated that all of the child's records had been sent to the resident district and a copy of these records was not maintained. A parent has a right to request amendment of their child's education records maintained by the district. In this case, the district properly notified the parent in writing that the district did not maintain a copy of the child's records and informed her of where the records had been sent.

Finally, the parent maintains that, following the student's withdrawal from the district in November 2001, the district improperly transferred the student's records to the resident school district. Within 5 working days of a request, a school district must transfer to another school or school district all pupil records relating to a specific pupil if the transferring school district has received written notice from a parent that the pupil intends to enroll in the other school or school district or written notice from the other school or school district that the pupil has enrolled. In February 2002, the child began attending two courses through the resident district as permitted by state law for students who are enrolled in a home-based private school program. The district transferred the student's records to the resident district on March 5, within 5 working days after receiving a written request from the resident district. The district properly transferred the records to the resident district.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 4/14/03
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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