Facts: The student was eligible for special education services as a student with an other health impairment, a visual impairment, and a speech impairment. The student had a history of maladaptive behaviors, significant medical history, and complex academic and behavioral needs. The student’s placement was in a self-contained classroom with inclusion in music, PE, and briefly in a general education classroom each day. The parents complained about conflicts with the student’s peers and concerns over the student’s safety. After an incident in which the student had an outburst that resulted in his physical removal from the classroom and isolation, an investigation ensued. The aide who removed the student was later terminated and the parents learned that isolation had been used previously to address the student’s behavior. The parents also requested a due process hearing, claiming that the district denied the student a free appropriate public education
Holding: The hearing officer concluded that the district had denied the student FAPE to the extent the student’s educational program (1) was not individualized based on assessment and performance, (2) lacked key components in meeting the student’s complex needs, and (3) did not result in meaningful educational progress. According to the hearing officer, the district failed to conduct a three-year reevaluation, and assessments for assistive technology, adaptive PE, hearing, vision, sensory integration, behavior, occupational therapy, physical therapy, music therapy, parent training, and in-home training. The student’s IEP lacked key components, including a behavior intervention plan (BiP) and consideration of extended school year (ESY) services.
The hearing officer held that the district did not deprive the parents of their procedural rights. The school district provided timely reports on the student’s progress and notice of procedural rights. The parent was an active participant in the development of the student’s educational program. The hearing officer stated that the failure to inform the parents of the use of isolation as a behavior intervention was not a procedural error but an outcome of the district’s failure to design and implement a BIP. The hearing officer also concluded that the evidence was insufficient to prove that the student was subjected to bullying or harassment. The hearing officer ordered the district to conduct a number of assessments, design a BIP, consider ESY services, and provide training to aides working with the student.