Toolbox Tuesday!! Sometimes it’s obvious….

At every annual ARD meeting the Committee must answer this question: Does the student have behaviors that impede learning of the student or others? If the answer is YES, the Committee should consider how to address those behaviors.  If the YES box is checked, and there is no Behavior Plan, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.  The Enterprise City school district in Alabama did not ‘splain it well enough. 

As the court observed, there are some students for whom a behavior plan is obviously needed. This student was one of those, and the court held that any IEP that failed to address his behavior would be inadequate.  A second error by the school was removing the student from the bus due to misconduct, and not providing any alternative.  The court ordered the school to reimburse the parents for transporting their child, and ordered numerous additions to the IEP.  The court’s opinion includes a number of Key Quotes:

People tend to rise or sink to meet expectations; the IDEA reflects Congress’s attempt to ensure those expectations remain high. 

…it is blackletter law that, when a child’s behavior impacts his ability to meet educational goals, a proper IEP should include a plan to address those behaviors.

Education is an inherently aspirational endeavor.  It is an investment in our children and their future….Accordingly, the IEP team’s goal is to see students not as they are, but as they can become.

Hearing officers and courts often make decisions about students whom they never see in person. But when they do, it can give them more confidence about their decisions.  Consider:

Both the Hearing Officer and the Court were able to observe S.S. in-person during live proceedings, and the Court joins the Hearing Officer in noting that it is readily apparent that S.S. needs behavior intervention to make any progress at all.

Serving students like S.S. is what The Toolbox training is all about.  Let me know if you are interested. 

This one is Enterprise City Board of Education v. S.S., decided by the federal court for the Middle District of Alabama on June 12, 2020. We found it at Special Ed Connection, 76 IDELR 295.


Tomorrow: COVID related case.