Student Discipline under IDEA

Association of Educators
August 16, 2013 — 810 views  

Dealing with children with disabilities can be difficult for school authorities. Children with disabilities are not treated like normal kids as they come under the purview of IDEA or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. There are procedural safeguards within this Act. They cannot be arbitrarily removed from their parent approved program.

Student Discipline under IDEA

The purpose of IDEA is to provide appropriate education to a disabled child whose disability comes under a set of disabilities identified by the Federal Act. Part B of the Act has clear discipline procedures. A school is empowered to change the placement of a child who violates the code of conduct. Each case has to be examined in context of its unique circumstance. The child may be transferred to an appropriate alternative arrangement or expelled for 10 days.

However, the violation of the code should not be the manifestation of disability. Also, the child removed from the current setting must continue to receive appropriate education as set out in the goals of IEP in another setting. The child should also continue to receive behavioral assessment and intervention services. The school authority in consultation with the child’s teacher may determine the extent of services needed so that the child can participate in educational curriculum.

Manifestation Review under IDEA

Manifestation review under the IDEA is conducted in context of violation of the student code, to determine if the disciplinary violation committed by the disabled child is linked to their disability. The manifestation review was introduced for the first time in 1997, when the Act was amended. In 2004, the process was simplified. So, the manifestation reviews are now conducted only when change of placement has to take place. In other words, when removal is for less than 10 consecutive school days, the review is not required. It is also necessary that the review must take place with a period of ten days from the decision of removal and alternative placement.

The review is conducted by the parent, the LEA, and members of the IEP team chosen by the parents and the LEA. The review will determine whether the child’s conduct was related to their disability and whether it involved failure on the part of the LEA to comply with the IEP. The idea here is not to punish the child for their disability linked behavior. Secondly, if LEA could not implement the relevant section under the IEP, immediate steps need to be taken to handle the deficiencies identified.

If the review determines failure to implement the IEP, remedial measures should be taken immediately. If the child’s behavior is extreme and related to drugs, weapons, or violence, the child should be sent to the placement they came from, unless the LEA and parent are in favor of a different placement.    

Section 504 is designed to protect the interests of a disabled child just like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. These provisions aim at eliminating the barriers that prevent interaction of disabled children with normal children. However, the transgressions related or unrelated to their disability are not uncommon. So, the Act has put a set of procedural safeguards in place.   

Association of Educators