IDEA Complaint Decision 06-007

On February 9, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Bonduel. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues, which relate to the 2005-2006 school year, are identified below.

  • Whether the district properly responded to a parent’s request to have access to educational records prior to the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting.

An IEP team meeting was held on November 4, 2005, for the purpose of determining continued eligibility of a middle school student with speech and language disabilities. The IEP team determined that the student continued to need special education in the area of social language skills but that the amount of services required to meet the student’s needs should be reduced from two twenty-minute sessions to one twenty-minute session per week.

The mother alleges that she verbally requested access to educational records prior to the November 2005 IEP team meeting during two telephone conversations with school staff on or about October 25, 2005, and on or about October 31, 2005. The mother alleges that the district refused on both occasions. School staff indicate that they did not receive a records request. Since the requests were verbal and no written documentation was provided, the department cannot substantiate the requests. During an interview with the mother, the complaint investigator asked if she was requesting access to educational records at this time. The mother indicated that she was indeed requesting this and would like a copy sent to her home address. The district has acknowledged receipt of this request and is preparing the documents to be sent to the mother’s home address.

  • Whether the district properly provided prior notice regarding sources for the parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding procedural safeguards.

The mother alleges that she never received prior notice of the sources for the parent to contact to obtain assistance in understanding procedural safeguards. The district contends that these sources are contained within the Special Education Rights for Parents and Children brochure and that a copy of the brochure was last sent to the parent with the invitation to the November 2005 IEP team meeting. During interviews, several school staff stated that the brochure is routinely given out when the student is first referred for evaluation, when they invite the parents to an IEP team meeting and when they reevaluate the student as part of district procedures. The district met this requirement.

  • Whether the district properly informed the parents of their right to ask for additional time to permit meaningful parental participation during the IEP process and properly determined who would attend the IEP team meeting.

The mother alleges that she was never informed of her right to ask for additional time to permit meaningful parental participation during the IEP process. The district contends that the mother arrived at the meeting and indicated that she did not agree with the participants that were present. One IEP team participant left at this time. The remaining four IEP team participants were asked to remain for the meeting by the LEA representative. The district states that the mother left the meeting, indicating that she would not participate with more than three school personnel present. The IEP team meeting which was for the purpose of determining continued eligibility continued without the parent present to meet the annual timeline. Public agencies must inform the parents of who will be at the IEP team meeting and must indicate the purpose, time, and location of the meeting. The district met these requirements.

If the parents of the child or the local educational agency determines at any point during the process of the evaluation, development of the individualized education program or placement of the child that additional time is needed to permit meaningful parental participation, the local educational agency shall provide it. The district indicated that its standard practice is consistent with this requirement. Based upon interviews with several staff present at the IEP team meeting, the department concludes that the parent left the meeting before the parent could be informed of her right to additional time to permit meaningful parental participation. During an interview with the mother, the complaint investigator informed her of the continuum of alternative dispute resolution options, including a facilitated IEP. The mother indicated that she would like to pursue this option with the district. The district acknowledges the receipt of this request and will work with the parent to engage in a facilitated IEP.

  • Whether the district properly responded to a parent’s request for a copy of her child’s evaluation report.

The mother alleges that she verbally asked for and never received a copy of the student’s evaluation report. The district contends that it is standard district practice for a copy to be given at every IEP team meeting and copies can be requested at any time. The district contends that they never received a verbal or written request for the evaluation report. During an interview with the mother, the complaint investigator asked if she was requesting a copy of the student’s evaluation report at this time. The mother indicated that she was indeed requesting this and would like a copy sent to her home address. The district has acknowledged receipt of this request and is preparing the documents to be sent to the mother’s home address.

  • Whether the district properly responded to a request for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).

The mother alleges that she verbally requested an Independent Educational Evaluation. The district contends that no such request was made of any of the school staff interviewed. During an interview with the mother, the complaint investigator asked if she was requesting an IEE at this time. The mother indicated that she was indeed requesting an IEE. The district has acknowledged receipt of this request and is following IEE district policies when a request is submitted.

  • Whether the district properly documented IEP determinations.

In her complaint, the mother identified several portions of the IEP which she maintains are not accurate. Federal law provides that parents may request a district to amend portions of a student’s records which the parent believes are inaccurate or misleading. The parent may make such a request to the district at this time if she chooses.

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

//signed CST 4/10/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/tg

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