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(15.1) My child has ongoing behavior problems. Does the district have any responsibility to address those problems?

(15.1) My child has ongoing behavior problems. Does the district have any responsibility to address those problems?

Yes. If your child has behaviors which interfere with your child’s or another child’s learning, federal law requires that the IEP team must consider which behavior supports, strategies, and other services are needed so that your child can benefit from education in the least restrictive environment (LRE). [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.324(a)(2),(b)(2).] If you have concerns about your child’s behavior in school, write a letter to your child’s school asking that the school district assess your child’s behavior and informing them of their duty to have goals and services related to your child’s behavioral needs in her IEP.

The school district has a legal responsibility to identify and provide the type of assessment, educational plan, and services or supports that your child’s IEP team determines are necessary to help your child with her behavior in school. These services and supports are provided so your child can benefit from education and not have to move to a more restrictive setting, such as a special day class or day treatment program.

Your child’s IEP should include a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids, and services to be provided to your child. This includes a statement of measurable annual behavior goals designed to address your child’s behavior needs. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.320(a)(2),(4).] If behavior is getting in the way of your child learning or remaining in a regular classroom or less restrictive setting, her IEP should contain a statement of the behavioral support services she needs.  [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56364.2.] This statement of services is called a behavioral support plan (BSP) and can include the behavioral management techniques, necessary staffing, and other support services needed to implement your child’s behavioral goals.

If your child’s school agrees that your child has behavior needs and the IEP does not include supports or strategies to address the behavior and/or does not state goals related to your child’s behavior, the school may be denying your child a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE). You could consider filing a compliance complaint with the California Department of Education (CDE). However, you may also consider filing a due process hearing request. See Chapter 6, Information on Due Process/Compliance Procedures.

If your child’s IEP contains services, supports or strategies to address these behavioral needs but they have been ineffective, your district should call for an IEP to discuss different or additional behavioral services that will be effective. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56343(b).] However, you can request an IEP Review yourself to address your child’s lack of progress. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56343.5.]