Conducting FBAs and Implementing BIPs

“If you have any questions about conducting FBAs and implementing BIPs, contact one of our attorneys at (203) 221-3100”

When a student’s behavior disrupts the classroom, it can create a challenging learning environment for everyone involved. Teachers and administrators often struggle to find effective ways to address these behaviors without resorting to punitive measures. Traditional disciplinary actions may not only fail to address the root causes of the behavior but can also exacerbate the problem, leading to repeated disruptions and negative outcomes for the student.

This is where Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) come into play. These tools provide a proactive approach to understanding and managing student behavior. By identifying the underlying causes of disruptive behaviors through an FBA and implementing tailored strategies with a BIP, schools can foster a more positive and productive learning environment.

What Are FBAs and BIPs?

A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is a personalized evaluation designed to pinpoint the underlying causes or influences of a student’s behavior. The insights gathered from the FBA guide the creation of suitable, impactful interventions that are constructive rather than punitive.

The Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is the customized strategy detailing approaches to manage behavior triggers, educate on and reinforce new skills, or promote alternative behaviors to reduce or eliminate problematic behaviors.

Conducting an FBA

When universal and targeted interventions at Tier I and Tier II levels fail to address student behavior issues, it may be time to consider conducting an FBA as part of a personalized Tier III intervention. While there’s no legal requirement to conduct an FBA within the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) process, certain situations might necessitate it.

When to Consider an FBA

  • Repeated Suspensions: If a student faces repeated suspensions, it might be necessary to conduct an FBA.
  • Behavior, Attendance, or Academic Issues: Unsatisfactory or marginal progress in these areas can prompt the need for an FBA.

The child study team should evaluate whether a student’s behavior warrants a referral to the PPT. Importantly, referring to the PPT does not prevent the team from implementing Tier III interventions, such as an FBA and BIP. Both processes can be pursued concurrently for effective student support.

Is Written Consent Needed to Conduct an FBA?

The necessity of written consent for conducting an FBA has become less clear following the Second Circuit ruling in D.S. v. Trumbull Board of Education (975 F.3d 152, 2d Cir. 2020). Previously, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) indicated that an FBA required written parental consent. However, the court determined that an FBA does not qualify as an “evaluation” under the IDEA.

Implications of the Ruling

  • IDEA Consent Requirements: Consent may no longer be legally mandated for FBAs in the Second Circuit, including Connecticut and New York.
  • USDOE Review: Following the ruling, the USDOE is reviewing its stance on whether school districts must seek written consent for FBAs.

Additional Considerations in Determining Consent

When determining the necessity of parental consent, consider who performs the assessment. Behavior Analysts certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BCBAs) must obtain written consent before conducting behavioral assessments, per their professional standards.

Professional and Ethical Standards

  • BCBA Guidelines: BCBAs are required to follow the BACB’s code, which mandates written consent for behavioral assessments.
  • State Department Guidelines: The Connecticut State Department of Education plans to issue guidelines for BCBAs working in schools, providing additional clarity.

Seeking Written Consent as Standard Practice

Even though written consent for conducting an FBA may not be mandated by the IDEA, school teams might choose to seek consent as a standard practice. This ensures transparency and communication with parents regarding intensive and personalized interventions. Obtaining written consent, whether through the child study team or the PPT processes, helps keep parents informed about the FBA procedure.

Create the Best Learning Environment

Addressing challenging behaviors in the classroom requires more than just reactive measures; it demands a thoughtful and proactive approach. By conducting Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) and implementing Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs), schools can create a supportive environment that promotes positive behaviors and enhances the learning experience for all students.

If you need assistance with conducting FBAs and implementing BIPs, our experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy are here to help. Based in Westport, Connecticut we provide guidance and support to ensure that your interventions are effective and legally compliant. Contact us today at (203) 221-3100 to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards creating a better learning environment for your students.

Key Takeaways

  • Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs): Personalized evaluations designed to identify the causes of a student’s behavior, guiding the creation of constructive interventions.
  • Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs): Customized strategies to manage behavior triggers, teach new skills, and promote alternative behaviors.
  • Conducting FBAs: Considered for personalized and intensive Tier III interventions when Tier I and Tier II levels are ineffective.
  • Referral to Planning and Placement Team (PPT): Required for students with repeated suspensions or unsatisfactory behavior, attendance, or academic progress,
  • Consent Requirements: Following the D.S. v. Trumbull ruling, written consent for FBAs may no longer be legally mandated, but obtaining consent is still advisable for transparency.
  • Professional Standards for BCBAs: Behavior Analysts are required to obtain written consent before conducting FBAs, according to their certifying body’s ethical standards.