What is Basis of Knowledge?

Discipline of Students in Special Education Series

Part 7 of 9

What is Basis of Knowledge?

Introduction

Can IDEA’s discipline protections be applied to, or claimed by, children not previously determined to be eligible for special education and related services under IDEA? Perhaps an example would clarify what this question is really asking. Suppose this situation: A student who has not yet been found to be a "child with a disability" under IDEA has violated a code of student conduct. The school system takes disciplinary action according to its policies—at which time the student asserts that, in fact, he or she is a "child with a disability" as IDEA defines that term and that the protections under IDEA must guide the discipline policies that are applied. Is this permissible? Answer: Of course the answer is "sometimes" and "under certain circumstances." The pivot point, without a doubt, is whether or not the school system had knowledge that the child was a “child with a disability” when the child violated the code of student conduct. This is called "Basis of Knowledge" and is the focus of this issue of NASET’s Discipline of Students in Special Education Series.

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