Progress on IEP goals remains the Gold Standard in special education matters. We know that the Supreme Court has told us that for students who are capable of achieving at grade level, passage from one grade to the next is a strong indicator that the district is providing a FAPE. This is so even when behavioral issues are on the rise.
That’s the background to a federal court decision from Pennsylvania. From 6th grade to 8th the student’s behaviors consistently got worse, but the court held that the district offered FAPE and appropriately addressed behavior. Key Quotes:
It is understandably frustrating for Parents that H.L’s behavior trended this way despite the District’s efforts, but it does not mean the District failed to provide a FAPE.
The Court notes that importantly, despite his worsening behaviors, H.L. still progressed from grade to grade.
In our firm’s Toolbox Training we emphasize Tool #1 (a BIP) as The Most Important Tool. But as this case illustrates, an FBA and behavior plan is not the only way to address behavior. The district ultimately did conduct an FBA and a BIP but the parents argued it came too late. The court disagreed.
It’s H.L. v. Tri-Valley School District, decided by the federal court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on March 14, 2023. It’s published in The Special Educator at 82 IDELR 229 and at 2023 WL 2505491.
DAWG BONE: TOOL #1 IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT’S THE ONLY ONE DESIGNED TO PRODUCE AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE STUDENT’S BEHAVIOR.
Got a question or comment for the Dawg? Let me hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow: 5th Circuit and the “state-created danger” theory…