CASE NO. 2023020910
Student v. SACRAMENTO CITY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Counsel for Student: Parent
Counsel for District: Kaitlyn Tucker and Katherine Woznick
Representative for District: Geovanni Linares
ALJ: Brian H. Krikorian
Date of Decision: July 19, 2023
Significant areas of law: Failure to implement IEP is denial of FAPE.
- Did District fail to implement Student’s IEP?
FACTS OF THE CASE:
- Student was fifteen (15) years old and eligible for special education under the categories of specific learning disability and other health impairment.
- Student looked at inappropriate material on his computer and phone during class. A school psychologist, contacted Parent to inform her of the matter, and suggested Student may need some counseling. Parent acknowledged Student’s conduct and agreed to set up counseling for Student.
- Over the next two months District monitored Student and deemed him a “medium risk, harm to others.” District also held two SST meetings. While Student had not committed any overt act which would be viewed as a danger to others or himself, the SST team felt it necessary to monitor and assist Student to avoid any actual events that may harm Student or others.
- At the end of the second SST meeting, the team recommended that Student be assessed for special education. Parent agreed to the assessment, so long as Student was not pulled out of class for assessments.
- District failed to complete Student’s assessments and conduct IEP meeting within the prescribed time. However, the District recognized and acknowledged the delay on its part and the impact of the aforesaid delay on Student’s behavior and also offered compensatory education to the Student.
- District FAILED to implement Student’s IEP.
- There was no dispute that the assessment was not completed within 60 days. Parent testified that she did not dispute that she had asked the assessors not to remove Student from his classes for assessment purposes. In addition, Student had significant behavioral problems and concerns, including threats made by Student to other students and staff and the resulting suspension from school, that caused District to stop the assessments. While these issues delayed the process, District did not sufficiently explain why they could not have used alternative means and scheduling to complete the assessment within the 60 day timeline.
- There was no evidence presented, beyond the assessment delays and Student’s behavior, why the second IEP meeting was scheduled over two months later. The team members acknowledged that, even though IEP team meeting was held, District did not complete the assessment within the 60-day timeline. However, District offered to provide compensatory education for the time lost during the delay.
- District conducted a Manifestation Determination meeting. At the Manifestation Determination meeting, the team decided that the Student’s conduct was the direct result of a failure to implement the IEP, which had just been developed. An additional assessment plan was presented to Parent by the SELPA for a behavioral intervention plan as well as speech and language assessment, and she signed the assessment plan.
- Based upon the findings at the manifestation hearing, the lack of implementation of IEP further resulted in the exacerbation of Student’s inappropriate behaviors. Further, District acknowledged both in the IEP and in subsequent letters, that it delayed completing the IEP process. While it was laudable that District was proactive and addressed the delay by immediately providing remedial education, that does not excuse the actual violation.
- Although District denied Student a FAPE, it has already provided compensatory education. Student is not entitled to a remedy.