On May 19, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Fox Point-Bayside School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2002-2003 school year, before submitting a special education referral to the district regarding her child, informed the child's parent of the referral.
The student transferred to the district in September 2002. The parent noted that her child's attitude towards the new school became increasingly negative. On December 19, 2002, a meeting including teaching staff and the parent was held to discuss the student's behavior. The grade level team teachers noted verbal confrontations between the student and his teachers as well as reports of the student leaving the classroom when frustrated. The discussions did not include mention of a special education referral.
Sometime after the morning meeting, the student's actions resulted in another grade level team teachers meeting and submission of a referral for special education on the student. The principal called the parent, leaving a message at approximately 3:10 pm. The parent saved the recorded voice mail message. The timing and wording of the principal's message indicated that the written referral had actually been made prior to his call. The principal concurs that no mention of a written referral was made during the morning meeting.
Before submitting a written referral to a local educational agency, a person required to make a referral must inform the child's parent that he or she is going to submit the referral. In this case, although the district staff did promptly inform the child's parent of the referral, it was not until after the referral was submitted. The district acknowledges that the written referral was made prior to the telephone call and will ensure that district staff understand the requirement to properly inform a child's parent before a referral is submitted.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
//signed 7/17/03 by SJP
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy