CASE NO. 2023030132
Student v. MANTECA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT AND STOCKTON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Counsel for Student: Sheila Bayne, Robert Burgermeister, and Peter Collison
Counsel for District: Dee Anna Hassanpour and Matejka Handley
Representative for District: Jose Avila, Ed.D., Jody Burriss and Denise Nagao
ALJ: Alexa Hohensee
Date of Decision: June 01, 2023
Significant areas of law: District’s obligation to provide parent training.
- Did District deny Student a FAPE by failing to offer parent training in the areas of autism and speech or language impairment?
FACTS OF THE CASE:
- Student was six years old and was eligible for special education under the category of autism. Student filed a due process hearing request by alleging that both Districts have denied Student a FAPE in several ways.
- District DID NOT deny Student a FAPE by failing to offer parent training in the areas of autism and speech or language impairment.
- Student’s complaint states a list of ideas for “Parent IEP Training” without citation. Student’s creation of the term Parent IEP Training does not obligate a school district to offer parent training in an IEP.
- As with other related services, districts are responsible for providing parent counseling and training when the child’s IEP team determines that it is necessary for the child to receive FAPE. (U.S. Dept. of Educ., Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities, and Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities (71 Fed. Reg. 46573, Aug. 14, 2006).)
- To determine whether services for a child’s parents, such as training or counseling, should be included in a child’s IEP, the team developing the IEP must determine that the service is needed for the child to receive an appropriate special education or other required related services in the least restrictive environment. (Letter to Dole (OSERS, July 25, 1986) at p. 2.)
- The IEP team identified Student’s areas of need, wrote goals in those areas of need, and offered sufficient programs, supports, and services for Student to meet his goals in speech and language, behavior, and fine motor skills. The weight of the evidence did not establish that Student required parent training for autism or speech or language impairment in his IEP to receive a FAPE, to assist in developing skills needed to benefit from special education, or to make progress on his annual goals and access his education.
- Father testified that neither he nor Mother requested parent training in autism or speech or language impairment at any IEP team meeting, or from any person at District at any time. Nor did he establish that Parents required training.
- Father did not explain the nature of the training in autism or speech or language impairment he believes Parents needed or how that training was necessary for Student to make progress on his goals or access his educational program.
- None of the educational professionals who testified opined that parent training in autism or speech or language impairment was necessary for Student to receive a FAPE.
- Student’s IEP did not contain parent training and counseling services, but such services were readily available. Several members of Student’s IEP teams testified that the information packet attached to the procedural safeguards given to Parents at each IEP team meeting directed special education parents to the Parent Advisory Committee, which provided free training for parents of students with disabilities. This packet also contained information for contacting the Valley Mountain Regional Center, a state agency that provided services, including parent training, to families of children with disabilities. Similarly, Student’s pediatrician referred parents to the Valley Mountain Regional Center, where Parents received training in Student’s disabilities to support Student at home.
- It is established by testimony of the witnesses that if Parents had requested parent training in autism or speech or language impairment, IEP team would have discussed that at the IEP team meetings and considered providing training to Parents. However, Parents did not request parent training, and parent training was not necessary for Student to receive a FAPE.
- All of Student’s requests for relief are denied.