The Toolbox is a one-day training program for campus administrators and special education staff. The Toolbox provides 10 “tools” that school officials can use to serve students with disabilities who present challenging behaviors. The idea behind the Toolbox is to provide a framework and common vocabulary to help you serve all kids in the LRE while maintaining safety and an environment conducive to learning.
Tool #1 is a BIP—a Behavioral Intervention Plan. In the Toolbox training we emphasize that Tool #1 is the most important tool. If it works, you won’t need any of the other nine tools. That’s because Tool #1 is the only tool designed to improve the student’s behavior.
There are many cases that illustrate the proper and the improper use of a BIP.
*Some courts have pointed out that the law provides no specifics about what a BIP is supposed to look like;
*Some courts have found that the absence of a BIP is no big deal if the school can demonstrate that it addressed the student’s behavior in other ways;
*On the other hand, there are cases that have held that the absence of a BIP is a denial of FAPE to the student.
One of the cases that I think is most illustrative is C.F. v. NYC DOE, 62 IDELR 281 (2nd Cir. 2014). As if often true, the case provides us a good “teachable moment” because the court ruled against the district.
The court held that the district denied FAPE due to several things, one of which was an inappropriate BIP. The district did not conduct a FBA. The court found that this, by itself, was not a violation of law. However, the BIP that was developed was “vague” and “failed to match strategies with specific behaviors, instead simply listing behaviors and strategies.”
The 7th Circuit would likely disagree with this analysis, since it has held that it is impossible to write a BIP that fails to meet substantive standards, since there are none. Nevertheless, this is a good case for training on behavioral issues. A list of behaviors and strategies, without matching them up, is common. This court holds that a proper BIP would match them up—describing the specific strategy to be used for each behavior.
DAWG BONE: A BIP IS DESIGNED TO IMPROVE THE BEHAVIOR THAT IS IMPEDING LEARNING. SO A GOOD BIP SHOULD CALL FOR INTERVENTIONS THAT ARE DESIGNED TO DO THAT. MATCH ‘EM UP!