Transportation: FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT FOR RIDING THE BUS?

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Renee:  Two students to be transported to the same school in a van with an aide. School is 45 miles from my home.

Incident happened at the end of last year. One student started hitting the bus driver and almost caused an accident. (This happened twice in the same bus ride.) My son having already been in a nearly fatal car accident refused to get on the bus with this other student after this happened. Other issue my son has with this student is that he’s unpredictable and he screams. My son has Autism and epilepsy. This other student (high school age) has an intellectual disability. He functions at about the level of a 3 year old. My son is 14 and functions at about the level of a 10 year old.

I have been driving my child back and forth to school. I made the district aware of this situation when it happened at the end of last school year. The bus driver had also filed an incident report. When we found out in the beginning of August that my child would also be going to this school (he’d originally been slated into a different placement at a different school) I contacted the director of transportation and told him we have a problem. The district has received two recommendations (one from my son’s mental health counselor and one from his developmental pediatrician) both advocating for my son to be put on a different bus.

Had a CSE meeting. Team from new placement deferred their judgement on the bus situation to my son’s outside service providers, seeing how they don’t know him that well. So in essence, team agreed my son needed to be transported separately.

I have been transporting. I told district I’d be willing to continue transporting, but they have to reimburse my mileage. District says they approving my transporting violates LRE. (I know LRE only applies to educational services. Transportation is not considered an educational service.)

District also saying they want to conduct an FBA for why my son won’t get on the bus. (They already know why he won’t get on the bus.) You ever heard of anyone doing an FBA for riding the bus? And since it is not actually an educationally related service, can they actually do an FBA for this?

I know that regardless of how long they “drag their feet” on this, they are still culpable for the cost of his transportation. They don’t seem to realize this, but he is being denied FAPE.

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Sophie
09/25/2016 7:35 pm

If your child did not have a disability, and were not on that particular bus, I bet there would not be any safety issues of this magnitude!

That means this is a problem of discrimination against your son, based on his protected class as a person with a disability.

You can file a discrimination complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (assuming this is a public school). That is not a quick fix, so keep trying to work it out.

The district will not be notified that you filed a complaint until OCR finishes its preliminary evaluation of your complaint (could be several months). And it only notifies the district if it finds your complaint is investigatable. So if things get worked out in the meantime, you can withdraw your complaint and the district need never know you filed.

Regarding the FBA — wherever possible, it is generally a good idea to cooperate with whatever idea they come up with, even if it strikes you as harebrained or a waste of time. However, you can write on the consent form that you want to speak with the evaluator before she starts, and meet with her to go over her results as soon as the report is complete. Also, you can tell them that if this FBA is just a stalling tactic, then it is an unacceptable approach to solving the problem. Have them give you a date by which the report will be complete, before you sign consent.

Admin
09/20/2016 3:53 pm

You have several questions about transportation, safety, Functional behavior assessments. I don’t know which question is most important to you so I’ll tackle transportation.

What does your child’s IEP say about transportation?

Transportation is a related service (like PT, OT, speech, etc) if your child needs transportation to benefit from special education. Your child’s team will decide whether your child needs transportation services in his IEP. You are a member of this team.

Re your safety concerns: You need to document each safety issue or problem. Use a log. If there is a serious problem, write a letter to the school district. Describe the problem – facts, not emotion. Request an IEP meeting to resolve the ongoing transp. problems.