School psychologist resigns over incomplete special ed tests

An Oak Harbor School District psychologist resigned last month amid reports he allegedly failed to properly administer a test used to help determine whether students qualify for special education.

School officials are busy searching records to find out how many students are affected by the psychologist’s actions.

So far officials have found 32 students who had invalid test results, but the review of student files is not complete.

“We’re still reviewing files to make sure we’re accurate as to what happened,” said David Peterson, assistant superintendent for the Oak Harbor School District.

It turned out a school psychologist didn’t give an entire IQ test to some students.

The IQ test is a factor in determining whether a student is labeled learning disabled or mentally retarded and would qualify for special education programs. Because the test wasn’t completed, the test results are invalid. Students may have lost resources to help with their disabilities.

“You have to have a valid test to make a good decision,” Peterson said.

Psychologist Bill Young, who had been working for the school district for five years, resigned Feb. 14 after he was presented with evidence from a district investigation showing he didn’t administer an entire IQ test to students, Peterson said.

Officials found out about the invalid tests when an employee was reviewing student files and noticed the incomplete tests. That employee quickly notified Gail Cleveland, special programs director, about the tests and officials began investigating Young’s files.

Officials first learned about the invalid tests on Feb. 9; Young was placed on administrative leave.

Peterson said there didn’t seem to be any pattern as to whether students were excluded or qualified for special education programs.

Peterson said that Young resigned before officials completed the investigation.

He said this is the first time he’s ever seen an instance where a psychologist failed to administer an entire test. The other school district psychologists have properly administered the IQ tests, Peterson said.

The News-Times’ attempts to contact Young weren’t successful.

Peterson said employees are also reviewing files for other evaluations Young may have done.

Peterson said a letter was sent out Friday to all families with students in special education programs outlining the situation. They will hear more from school officials if their child is affected.

School officials will have to contact each family individually sometime next week. Peterson said some concerned families are already contacting the school district about the matter.

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