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BOOK: 17 
MONTH-YEAR: March - 1999
IN RE: In re Richard U.
APPELLEE: Western Hills AEA 12, Sioux City CSD, Arrowhead AEA 5, and Ft. Dodge CSD
KEYWORDS: Special Education
DETAILS: Richard U.was a 13-year-old boy with a long history of severe emotional and behavioral problems. He has been under the care of a psychiatrist and had various medications at various times. Due to numerous incidents of aggressive behaviors over the years, Richard was removed from the special behavior program at school and placed on a home-bound tutorial program of four hours a day.  In November 1996, hospital testing revealed Richard had "lead deposits in his joints" and an unusual amount of calcification in his brain.  He was court-ordered to a DMIC facility with residential care.  An April 10, 1997 report from Beloit strongly indicated that its staff considered the placement inadequate for Richard. He was hospitalized during May 1997. Due to funding constraints, none of the recommendations made at the time of hospitalization could be implemented.
  The educational record in this proceeding established that Richards behavioral and emotional needs exhibited while attending school in his resident district stemmed from long-term personal and family issues which escalated quickly beyond what the school was able to remediate.  Outside agencies, institutions, programs and repeated psychiatric interventions and prescriptions for medication were not effective in meeting Richards emotional and behavioral needs.  While the record indicates that academic growth was a consideration during most of Richards tumultuous days of residential treatment and changing environments, his medical and emotional issues become the real, obvious, and immediate focus of concern.  Clearly, his educational needs took a distant back seat to the immediate needs exhibit in his aggressive, oppositional, and self-injurious behavior. Most, if not all, of his residential placements and hospitalization were clearly for noneducational purposes.
  No court ruling directly on point with issues and facts present in this case were available or known. The law requires IDEA compliance for residential setting only when the placement is for education purpose and not when the placement is necessary for the purpose of addressing noneducational needs.
  The change of treatment placement of Richard U., proposed and then completed by DHS in April 1988 was not a "change of educational placement" envisioned by and subject ot the legal mandates of the IDEA. DHS must accept that educational programming decisions for children eligible for special education and related services are subject to IDEA provisions.  No state or local agency, or private agency acting on their behalf, may make unilateral long-term decisions regarding such childrens special education programming.
  DHS is encouraged to heed its responsibilities in this due process.  It should continue to work cooperatively with education, local schools and other various tate and private agencies in serving the children of Iowa.