Parents of a student who received special education services filed a due process complaint with the Texas Education Agency, alleging that a school district violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act when it failed to provide the parents with a notice of procedural safeguards when the student was assigned to a disciplinary alternative educational placement.

At the hearing, evidence was introduced to show that the student engaged in conduct that led to a placement in the DAEP. The mother met with the assistant principal to discuss the disciplinary action. She was provided with a disciplinary action sheet but not with a notice of procedural safeguards. After the meeting, the mother found a notice of procedural safeguards on the district’s website and printed it. She also met with special education personnel in another school district to find out what she could do to ensure her child’s safety at the DAEP.

The district held a manifest determination review and determined that the student’s behavior was not a manifestation of the disability or due to the district’s failure to provide the student with appropriate services. The student was assigned to the DAEP. At no time did the district provide the parents with a copy of the notice of procedural safeguards. The parents agreed that the student’s conduct was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, but disagreed with the location of the disciplinary placement, because they feared for their child’s safety at the DAEP.

All of the parties agreed at the TEA hearing that the district did not provide the parents with a notice of procedural safeguards. The district argued that the parents were not harmed by this because they located the notice on the district’s website. However, the hearing examiner disagreed and found that the district was not excused from its duty to provide the documents simply because the mother found them through her own diligence. This failure, however, did not deny the student a free and appropriate public education and the student did not suffer a deprivation of educational benefit. The district was in the process of reviewing the student’s services to consider whether a behavior plan should be developed. The district was ordered to complete a functional behavior assessment on the student and then consider the development and implementation of a BIP.