IDEA Complaint Decision 07-087

On November 21, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Marshall Public Schools. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district:

  • Provided required speech and language services to a child with a disability after November 21, 2006, and required special education services after January 2007; and
  • Revised the student’s individualized education program (IEP) without discussing the revisions during a January 2007 IEP team meeting.

The child’s January 16, 2007, IEP states speech and language will be provided four times per month at 25 minutes per session. The parents allege the district did not provide their child with the proper frequency and amount of speech and language services during the months of January and February 2007. They state the speech and language therapist informed them services were provided to their child two times during the month of January and one time in February.

Through interviews with department staff, the speech and language therapist acknowledged she had missed therapy sessions with the child during January and February. The therapist stated she sent a letter to the parents indicating the speech and language sessions missed in January and February, and indicated she would make up the sessions. The speech and language therapist also met with the parents and the special education coordinator and she reiterated the sessions missed and the remaining sessions to be made up. The speech and language therapist maintains she provided the child with all of the missed speech and language sessions between February and the end of the 2006-2007 school year. While the district acknowledged it did not provide speech and language services consistent with the child’s IEP at four times per month for 25 minutes per session, it did make up the speech and language sessions missed in January and February 2007.

The parents also contend the special education teacher did not provide the proper frequency and amount of 7.5 hours per week for special education support services from the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year. They state the former special education teacher informed them she could only provide their child with 6.5 hours per week of special education support services. The January 16, 2007, IEP, under special education services, states the cross categorical program will include adult assistance for behavior/emotional/social intervention for 7.5 hours per week during five-day school week (or on average 1.5 hours per day).

The department staff reviewed the district’s submitted materials including the special education teacher’s written weekly schedules from the beginning of the 2007 school year through December. Each weekly schedule included a total time of services received by the child from 6.4 to 7.9 hours per week. The district did not provide the proper frequency and amount of special education services as indicated in the child’s IEP for 7.5 hours per week during five-day school week (or on average 1.5 hours per day). Within 30 days of receiving this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan that ensures all staff with IEP responsibilities understand that special education services must be implemented according to the proper frequency and amount stated in a child with a disability’s IEP. The district will convene an IEP team meeting within 15 days of receiving this decision, to address the special education services and the proper frequency and amount provided to the child.

The parents assert the district revised their child’s IEP without discussing the revisions during the January 16, 2007, IEP team meeting. The parents received a draft copy of the IEP at the end of the meeting that indicated speech and language services for six times per month at 25 minutes per session. On February 15, 2007, a final IEP was sent to the parents and it stated their child would receive speech and language four times per month at 25 minutes per session. On September 10, 2007, the parents received a copy of the “IEP at a Glance,” an abbreviated IEP intended for the child’s teachers, which stated speech and language was to be provided for six times per month at 25 minutes per session.

The department staff interviewed three district staff who attended the January 16, 2007, IEP team meeting. Each individual stated the frequency and amount for speech and language was discussed at the meeting and determined to be four times per month at 25 minutes per session. The draft January 16, 2007, IEP and the “IEP at a Glance” document incorrectly stated the frequency and amount for speech and language services. The district addressed the proper frequency and amount of speech and language services at the child’s January 16, 2007, IEP team meeting and provided the parent with a notice of the decision.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/AJC 1/22/08
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