On March 13, 2014, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the XXXXX School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2013-14 school year, properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) and properly reduced the student’s school day.
In rare circumstances a student’s day may be shortened when the IEP team determines that a shortened day is required based on the student’s individualized disability-related needs. During the 2013-14 school year, the student experienced changes in medical needs and a decreased ability to access instruction for a full day. Staff documented the student’s medical condition and ability to access instruction, and communicated the information to the parents through a daily notebook. On February 3, 2014, the IEP team, which included the parent, determined the student required a reduced school day because his medical condition prevented him from attending a full day. The IEP team documented the reasons for the shortened day in the IEP, and agreed to a February 27, 2014, meeting to review the student’s medical condition. At the parent’s request, the district rescheduled the IEP team meeting for March 6, 2014. The student’s day was properly reduced.
The student’s IEP included attendant care services and a protocol for the student’s medical condition, which the IEP team developed in collaboration with a school nurse. Paraprofessional and instructional support was provided in the student’s classroom at all times, as required by the IEP. The school nurse provided staff training to ensure staff understood and properly implemented the protocol, and the student’s special education teacher and school nurse consistently collaborated to monitor the student’s progress and protocol implementation. On February 28, 2014, the student experienced several significant medical episodes within the first half-hour of the day, and the episodes were more severe and frequent than those the student had experienced in the past. Staff remained with the student, ensured the student was safe, monitored the student’s breathing, allowed the student to rest during these episodes, contacted the school nurse and the parent, and documented the medical episodes, in accordance with the protocol incorporated into the student’s IEP. The school nurse requested the parent pick up the student from school due to the nature and severity of the medical episodes. Because the nurse believed the student was too ill to be at school and should be seen by a physician, this was reasonable under the circumstances. The district properly implemented the student’s IEP.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
//signed CST 5/12/2014
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support