Discipline of Students in Special Education Series

The 1997 Amendments to IDEA marked the first time that specific discipline procedures were included in the law. Those discipline procedures addressed how public agencies could respond to behavioral infractions of children with disabilities. They were also rather complicated. You'll be pleased to hear that those procedures have been revised in the 2004 Amendments to IDEA and that disciplinary processes have been streamlined.

The 9 part series of Discipline of Students in Special Education is presented each month (see below) so that you can find IDEA's requirements in specific disciplinary areas. The case study at the end looks at how IDEA's discipline procedures apply in a real-life situation.

Part I: General Authority of School Personnel

What authority do school personnel have to discipline a student with a disability who has violated a code of student conduct? Details here, including the school's general authority, case-by-case determinations, the 10-day rule, and what constitutes a "change of placement."

Part II:  School Authority in Special Circumstances

"Special circumstances" involve weapons, drugs, or serious bodily injury. Find out what authority school personnel have to remove a student with a disability whose violation of the student code of conduct involves any of these three factors.

Part III:  Manifestation Determination

One purpose of a manifestation determination is to determine whether or not the child's behavior is linked to his or her disability. Find out when this process is required and who is involved.

Part IV:  Are Services Provided During Disciplinary Removals?

What is the school system's obligation to provide special education and related services to a student with a disability during his or her disciplinary removal? IDEA addresses this critical question in its "extent of services" provisions.

Part V:  Appeals

Both the LEA and the parent of the child with a disability have the right to request a due process hearing to appeal decisions taken during disciplinary procedures, although the reasons these parties may do so differ.

Part VI:  Child's Placement During the Appeal Process

Where will the child be placed until a decision on an appeal is issued the original placement from which the child was removed during the disciplinary action, the interim alternative educational setting, or another setting that the parents and school agree to? If you're wondering what happened to the "stay-put" provision, you'll find your answer here.

Part VII:  What is Basis of Knowledge?

How do IDEA's discipline procedures apply to children not previously determined to be eligible for special education and related services ? It all depends on whether or not the school system had what's known as a "basis of knowledge."

Part VIII:  Reporting Crimes

Are school systems allowed to report crimes committed by children with disabilities? Yes, with conditions.

Part IX:  Putting It All Together: A Case Study

See how IDEA's discipline procedures apply in real life by looking at the case of Charlie.

How to Prepare for a Manifestation Determination Review: A Handout for Parents

One of the most devastating calls parents can receive is the school district calling to tell them it has initiated an expulsion proceeding against their child due to poor behavior. If their child has an Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) before the expulsion process can start they must hold a Manifestation Determination review. This review must be held within 10 days of the conduct.

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