Toolbox Tuesday!! It’s about progress, not perfection.

In our Toolbox training, we emphasize the importance of a BIP—a Behavior Intervention Plan designed to improve the student’s behavior.  Of the ten tools in the Toolbox, the BIP is the most important. That’s why it’s Tool #1. 

Like all other components of a student’s IEP, a BIP is satisfactory if it is designed to achieve progress.  Perfection is not required.  That’s why a mother’s complaint that the BIP had not eliminated the student’s inappropriate behaviors was not enough for her to win her case.  The court noted that the student’s behavior had improved with the services provided by the school. Good enough. 

The court held that the student received FAPE, even though the school failed to implement one component of the IEP.  The IEP called for a personal aide who would be supervised two hours/week by a BCBA.  The school provided the aide, but for three months failed to provide the supervision by a BCBA. The court held that this did not impede the student’s right to FAPE. The only testimony that the student required the BCBA supervision came from the mother who “is not a behavior or education specialist.”  In contrast, the school produced testimony from a school psychologist that the supervision by a BCBA was not necessary. The court also noted that the student made progress on behavioral goals, albeit less than the parent would have liked. 

The case of A.W. v. Tehachapi USD, was decided by a federal court in California in 2019, and was affirmed in an unpublished decision by the 9th Circuit on June 25, 2020.  We found it at Special Ed Connection, 120 LRP 19621. 


Tomorrow: new Title IX decision from the 5th Circuit