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Meeting the needs of people with disabilities, their families, educators & service providers

Posts Tagged ‘Behavior intervention plan (BIP)’

School district’s failure to conduct FBA did not make BIP inappropriate

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

C.F. v. New York City Department of Education, 57 IDELR 255 (S.D.N.Y. 2011): The Court concluded that although New York regulations require a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) be conducted in order to determine why a student displays behaviors that interfere with his learning or that of others, the school district’s development of a behavior intervention plan (BIP) without conducting an FBA did not deprive an autistic student a FAPE.  The Court reasoned that the BIP was based on current observations from his teachers and up-to-date records of his recommended placement.  Moreover, although the Court concluded that the school district failed to specify parent counseling and training in the student’s IEP (a service required to be offered to students classified as autistic under New York state regulations), such a procedural defect did not amount to a denial of FAPE.  Having determined that the school district’s proposed placement offered the student a FAPE, the parent’s claim for private school tuition reimbursement was rejected.

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Failure to include BIP and plan to transition student back to public school in the IEP were procedural errors, which did not deprive student of a FAPE

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Park Hill School District v. Dass, 57 IDELR 121 (8th Cir. 2011): The court determined that the school district did not deny a student with autism a FAPE, where a behavior intervention plan (BIP) and a plan to transition the student back to the public school setting were not incorporated into the student’s IEP.  The court reasoned that the failure to include such provisions in the student’s IEP was, at most, a procedural violation of the law.  If the transition services and BIP actually provided to the student were inadequate, this would be a substantive violation.  In this case, however, the parents refused to give the school district an opportunity to provide the student with services when they removed the student from the school district and placed him in a private school.  The school district presented testimony at the due process hearing that had the student attended the recommended placement, it would have used teaching methods and strategies that worked with other students with autism in the school district, and if these strategies proved unsuccessful for the student, the school district would have conducted an FBA.

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Failure to conduct FBA did not deny FAPE where BIP was otherwise appropriate

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

A.L. v. New York City Department of Education, 57 IDELR 69 (S.D.N.Y. 2011): The Court affirmed the decision of the State Review Officer (SRO) who determined that the school district’s LEA’s failure to conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), on a student with autism whose behavior interfered with learning, did not deny student FAPE.  The Court reasoned that the behavior intervention plan (BIP) developed was otherwise appropriate.  Although the school district did not conduct a formal FBA, it developed a BIP based on a variety of assessments and reports and with substantial input from the student’s service providers.  The BIP adequately addressed the student’s needs.

Moreover, the court determined that the school district did not impede the parents’ participation in the decision making process regarding the student’s placement, even though the parents did not participate in the decision regarding the placement’s actual physical location.  While the parents had a right to participate in meetings to determine the “identification, evaluation and educational placement” of their child, this includes the general type of educational placement, not the “brick and mortar” school location.

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District’s failure to offer 1:1 teacher assistance entitles parents to private school tuition reimbursement

Monday, June 20th, 2011

R.E. v. New York City Department of Education, 56 IDELR 131 (S.D.N.Y. 2011): Agreeing with the decision of an impartial hearing officer (IHO) (and rejecting the decision of the state review officer (SRO)), the court upheld awarding tuition reimbursement for the parents of a student with autism.  Although the school district’s Individual Education Program (IEP) placed the student in a 6:1:1 classroom, the student required 1:1 teacher assistance in order to make meaningful progress.  The 1:1 support the student would have received from a “paraprofessional” was not sufficient.  The court noted that the only members of the student’s IEP Team who had personal knowledge of the student were representatives of the private school where the student was unilaterally placed, and those members had expressed their opinion that the student needed 1:1 teacher assistance.

Moreover, the school district’s IEP did not properly address the student’s behavioral needs, since the district did not develop an appropriate behavior intervention plan (BIP).  The court reasoned that it was not sufficient for the teacher who would have provided services to the student under the IEP to testify what she would have done to address the student’s behavior had the student been in her class, since “[t]he only information the parents can rely upon as to determining whether the proposed program is appropriate for their child is the IEP document itself.”

The court also stated that the SRO erred when he gave greater weight to the testimony of the teacher than had been given by the IHO, since the SRO was not present at the hearing and “should not have substituted his own credibility determinations for those of the IHO, who experienced the testimony of witnesses present at the hearing.”

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Failure to incorporate behavior intervention plan and parent training into autistic student’s IEP contributed to a denial of FAPE and entitled parents to full reimbursement for private school placement

Monday, June 20th, 2011

R.K. v. New York City Department of Education, 56 IDELR 168 adopted at 56 IDELR 212 (E.D.N.Y. 2011): The district court agreed with an impartial hearing officer’s (IHO’s) decision (which had been overturned by the state review officer (SRO)) that the failure to incorporate a behavior intervention plan (BIP) into an autistic student’s IEP contributed to a denial of a free appropriate public education (FAPE), and entitled the student’s parents to tuition reimbursement for their unilateral private school placement.  The court was not satisfied with testimony from a teacher that she would have developed a BIP had the student attended the recommended public school placement.  The court stated that it is the responsibility of the IEP team to conduct a functional behavioral analysis (FBA) and incorporate a BIP into the student’s IEP.

Also contributing to the denial of FAPE was the school district’s failure to incorporate parent counseling and training, which is required to be provided to the parents of autistic students by New York state law, into the student’s IEP.  The school district also violated New York state law by failing to provide the student with speech and language therapy for 30-minutes daily, which was required by the state regulations at that time.  The Court also determined that the recommended 6:1:1 classroom placement was not restrictive enough for the student’s extensive needs.

However, the school district did not violate the parent’s rights to participate in the IEP process by failing to allow them to participate in the selection of the physical location of the student’s recommended program.  While parents should be afforded the opportunity to participate in the selection of their child’s “educational placement,” this term refers only to the general type of educational program in which the student is placed.

Moreover, the court overturned the portion of the IHO’s decision that had awarded the parent’s only partial reimbursement for the unilateral private school placement.  Although the IHO determined that the private placement met only part of the student’s special educational needs, such shortcomings should have only been considered as factors in evaluating the placement as a whole.  Since the placement provided the student with an education specifically designed to meet the student’s needs, the parents were entitled to full tuition reimbursement.

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School district violated child-find obligation by failing to evaluate student in all areas of his suspected disability

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

School Board of the City of Norfolk v. Brown, 56 IDELR 18 (E.D. Va. 2010): Although a school district had previously evaluated and classified a student with cerebral palsy and seizure disorder as a student with a disability under the category of “other health impairment,” the court affirmed the decision of an impartial hearing officer who had concluded that the school district had violated its child-find obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by failing to evaluate the student in all areas of his suspected disability.  The school district should have also provided the student with a functional behavioral analysis (FBA) and behavior intervention plan (BIP) due to the evidence of the student’s history of engaging in behaviors that impeded the student’s learning or that of others.

The court also affirmed the hearing officer’s conclusion that the school district violated the IDEA by conducting a procedurally flawed Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) following a behavioral incident that led to a suspension.  In particular, the MDR team failed to consider a psychiatric report that was generated as a direct consequence of the behavioral incident and the MDR team failed to afford the parents an adequate opportunity to participate at the meeting.

Moreover, the court agreed with the hearing officer that the school district procedurally violated the IDEA when it placed the student in an alternative setting during the student’s suspension.  The decision to place the student in the alternative setting was made by the school board, but should have been made by student’s IEP team.  Moreover, the placement substantively violated the IDEA because it was not the least restrictive environment (LRE) in which the student could receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

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