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Sample Complaint Letter - Statutory/regulatory/rule Violations

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This letter is a formal Part 8 complaint on behalf of Student J. Doe, 15 year old a deaf student who is a resident of the Resident School District, and who, until September 10, 1996, has been receiving special education services through XYZ Intermediate School District. This complaint alleges that Resident School District and the XYZ Intermediate School District have been in violation of several rules pursuant to the Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education and/or the implementing regulations pursuant to IDEA found in 34 CFR 300 et seq. For that reason, it is requested that the Michigan Department of Education investigate this complaint and each specific allegation of violation herein, being that XYZ ISD is named as an entity in violation. It is further requested that MDE respond to this complaint and its constituent allegations in writing.

Allegation #1: Violation of 34 CFR 300.346(a)(3) / R 340.1721e(e)(f)

Student's IEPs do not include a statement of interpreter services (a specific related service), despite the fact that regular interpreter services were provided for him in the 5th and 6th grades. In the 7th grade, Student requested that he not receive interpreter services from the person who had been assigned to him. As a result of this request, regular interpreter services were discontinued, despite Student's continued need for such services, and the District's and the Intermediate's knowledge of this need.

When the parents requested that interpreter services be re-established, the request was denied. Since 9th grade, Student has left the HI program in Neighboring in the afternoon, to go to Local High School, where he was the only deaf student. There have been no staff at the high school who can sign. When it became absolutely necessary to communicate with Student, one of his cousins was pulled from his/her academic work and made to "interpret" for Student. This supports the District's knowledge of Student's need for interpreter services.

Despite repeated parental requests for the provision of interpreter services for Student for his participation in the Local High School football team, no such services were provided. The frustration caused by this lack of reasonable accommodation and appropriate service caused Student to quit the football team before the end of the season, and to refuse to join again.

When Student took Driver's Education at Local High School, the parents specifically requested interpreter services for this. The District informed the parents that a qualified interpreter would be provided to Student for Driver's Education. Two days before the classes began, the District informed Mrs. Doe that she would have to interpret for her son. She agreed to do so, reluctantly, on the condition that she be paid for providing this service. The above reported events also contribute to Allegation #2.

Allegation #2: Violation of R 340.1793(2) et seq.

None of the interpreter services Student received were provided by qualified interpreters as defined in the above cited rule. At least one qualified interpreter applied for employment with XYZ ISD, but none were hired, although they were available. The District and the Intermediate also failed to make any good faith effort to obtain a qualified interpreter.

Allegation #3: Violation of 34 CFR 300.346.(a)1) / R1340.1721e(3)(a)

All of the IEPs written on behalf of Student after 1986 include no statements of his present levels of academic performance, other than "Below peers." This statement is not only inadequate, it fails to satisfy federal guidelines for identifying the student's present levels of academic performance. On a rare occasion, a level of reading or math was noted on an IEP; however no source for the level is noted, and the parents disagree with the level noted.

Allegation #4: Violation of 34 CFR 300.505(a)(1)

Procedural safeguards were not fully provided to the parent. (A copy of the notification of rights given to the parents is attached.) When the parents indicated that they would disagree with Student's IEPs as written, the District and the intermediate having failed to grant the parents' request for interpreter services for Student, the parents were informed that they could NOT disagree with the IEP as written, since the District could neither find nor afford interpreter services. The parents believed this, and thus for this reason only, did not disagree with the IEPs written for Student.

Allegation #5: Violation of R 340.1721d(3)

Student's educational program at Local High School was restricted to the programs and services available. Not only were regular interpreter services denied to Student on the basis that no interpreters (qualified or otherwise) were available, but when the parents objected to Student's schedule being continued without change year after year, they were informed that nothing else was available.

On behalf of Mr. and Mrs. B.W. Doe,

Celeste Johnson
Parent/Child Advocate

***  Please note that this article is the intellectual property of Celeste Johnson.  Its presence on this web page is with permission and does not place it in the public domain.  Celeste Johnson retains all rights to this letter.  Feel free to use the information but please do not redistribute it or include it in any published material without first obtaining her permission.

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