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MPAS Gets Federal Guidance on Behavior Support

One of the most powerful and effective tools for students with disabilities who have behavior issues at school is the Behavior Intervention Plan (or BIP). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (or IDEA) says that the use of a Behavior Intervention Plan can be an important part of a Free and Appropriate Public Education and may be one of the supports written in a student's Individualized Education Program (or IEP). If the school fails to use a Behavior Intervention Plan that is written into the student's IEP as a needed support, the school is failing to implement the IEP in the way that they should under the law. 

Even though the Michigan Department of Education, Office for Special Education (or MDE) is responsible for making sure that Michigan schools follow the law, they have refused in the past to investigate complaints that point out schools' failures to use BIPs that are part of students' IEPs. Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. (or MPAS) has tried to get MDE to change their position on this, but they have refused to reconsider. As a result, MPAS turned to the Office for Special Education Programs (or OSEP), which is a federal agency that watches over MDE and makes sure they follow the law. 

In its July 16, 2015 "Letter to McWilliams", OSEP declared that MDE was wrong and said that when this kind of complaint is filed, MDE should look into whether the BIP was put into use by the school, and whether it was appropriate for the student. OSEP also confirmed that a BIP can be written into an IEP as a supplementary aid and service at any time.

A copy of the OSEP "Letter to McWilliams" is available for review here.

If you filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Education, Office for Special Education regarding a school district's failure to implement the BIP written in your child's IEP, and your complaint was dismissed, please feel free to contact us for more information about your rights at 800-288-5923.

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Posted on:
December 29, 2015