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BOOK: 21 
MONTH-YEAR: January - 2003
IN RE: In re Gabriel S.
APPELLANT: Eric & Susan S.
APPELLEE: Mason City Community School District & Northern Trails AEA 2
KEYWORDS: Special Education/FAPE
DETAILS: Gabriel S. is a 14-year-old boy who resides with his parents and siblings in the Mason City Community School District.  He has been identified as a child eligible for special education services since preschool.  The issues of this hearing deal with the special education program and services provided to Gabriel during his 8th grade year. On September 12, 2002, an IEP meeting was held to discuss annual progress, transition and 3-year evaluation of Gabriel.  The Boys Town Behavior Support Plan listed several strategies which included 1)lunch with same aged peers; 2) participation in extracurricular activities; 3) social skill instruction; 4) community volunteering to improve self-esteem; and 5) daily contact with the school psychologist.
  Despite the collaborative effort to design an effective BIP, Gabriel experienced numerous difficulties throughout this 8th grade year.  Gabriel required extensive crisis intervention. Of the 60 days, Gabriel has attended school, he required crisis intervention on 27 days. On November 21, 2002, Gabriels parents received notification that his grade-point-average for the first quarter was 1.00. As of December 3, 2002, Gabriels grades were four Fs. A December 16, 2002, meeting was scheduled to discuss modifications to Gabriels IEP, but his parents canelled the meeting preferring to "cover the issues with the ALJ in due process."
  From the evidence and testimony provided during hearing, Gabriels BIP had been consistently implemented as planned and its effects monitored. The IEP team revised the BIP in accordance with oingoing progress monitoring data. Appellants claim that the BIP was punitive and that the IEP had not been followed was not substantiated. There was no evidence presented that indicated Appellants were not provided opportunities to fully partiicpate in the development of Gabriels IEP and BIP.
  No evidence or testimony was presented by Appellants which defined or described intentional retaliatory action impacting the provision of FAPE to Gabriel.  Both the school record and testimony attested to the continuing deterioration of the relationship between Appellants and Appellees. The school social worker testified that while the parents view their actions as advocacy, their intercession may be protecting Gabriel from consequences necessary for behavioral improvement.
  While an administrative hearing remains a right and an option for Appellants with complaints relating to the educational placement or the provisions of a free appropriate education for Gabriel, Appellants may want to explore alternative dispute resolution activities to assist in reestablishing a conciliatory relationship with the AEA and District.
OUTCOMES: Appellees prevailed on all issues.