In our firm’s Toolbox Training we repeatedly emphasize that Tool #1 is Tool #1 for a reason—it’s the most important tool in the box. If Tool #1 works, you can put away the rest of the tools. Tool #1 is a Behavior Intervention Plan, a BIP.
IDEA requires educators to consider developing a BIP on a regular basis. The law requires IEP Teams (ARD Committees in Texas) to ask themselves this question at every annual ARD meeting: Does the student have behaviors that impede the learning of the student or others? It should be asked at other times as well.
If the answer to the question is “yes,” the ARD Committee members should proceed to think about ways to address the behavior. One way is to develop a BIP. It’s not the only way, but it’s one way. To craft a good BIP you need evaluation data. This is usually done through an FBA—Functional Behavioral Assessment. You need parent consent to do an FBA.
We remind you of all this just to get to the case that provides today’s lesson. A federal court in Pennsylvania held that the district failed to develop a consistent and systematic plan to address the student’s inappropriate behaviors. The court noted that the district needed parent consent to do a behavior plan, but it never sought consent. The school had an informal plan to address behavior that was not working. A more “consistent and systematic” approach was needed.
In the request for parent consent, the district stated that its proposed evaluation would include “parent and teacher input forms, behavior rating scales and classroom observations.” Notably, the parent was not specifically asked to consent to a FBA. That turned out to be a costly error.
The case is Colonial School District v. N.S., decided by the federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on March 27 2020. We found it at Special Ed Connection, 76 IDELR 127.
DAWG BONE: NEED A BIP? DO AN FBA. NEED AN FBA? GET PARENT CONSENT. NEED PARENT CONSENT? ASK FOR IT.
Tomorrow: Section 504 has its limits.