Suspension of Disabled Students

  • Federal law and state rules require local school districts to limit the number of days of out-of-school suspension for students with disabilities to ten days without educational services. After ten days, special education students who are suspended from school are required to receive interim alternative educational services, as determined by the student's IEP team.

    To maintain compliance with this rule, prior to the student's tenth consecutive or cumulative day of removal from school, a manifestation determination will be conducted.

    If the student's conduct is determined to be a manifestation of his or her disability, removal from school cannot exceed ten days unless the major rule violation involves:

    (a) use or possession of illegal drugs,
    (b) possession of a dangerous weapon, or
    (c) committing an act of serious bodily injury on another person (Note: Serious bodily injury is strictly defined under IDEA.)

    In any of the aforementioned events (a – c), the student may be removed from school for up to 45 school days, whether or not the behavior was a manifestation of the disability. The school will still have a manifestation determination review and document the findings for the record. The school shall further write a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) or review the student's existing BIP and modify it, as needed, to address the student's behavior. The parent shall be invited to participate in the manifestation determination review, as well as relevant members of the IEP team.

    If the conduct is determined not to be a manifestation of the student's disability, then the student may be removed from school for over ten days; however, the IEP staffing must provide the student with interim alternative educational services during his removal from school, which can allow him to progress on his IEP and the general curriculum.

    Students who have not yet been found eligible for special education would be afforded the same rights as a student with disabilities if:

    (a) the parent has expressed concern in writing to an administrator or teacher that the student may be eligible for special education, or
    (b) if the parent of the child requested an evaluation of the child for special education, or
    (c) if the student's teacher has expressed concern to an administrator that the student may be in need of an evaluation for determination of special education eligibility.

    A student would not be eligible for protection if the parent had previously denied the school the opportunity to evaluate, or if the parents had been offered and refused special education services, or if the child has been evaluated and found to be ineligible for special education.

    If the parent requests an evaluation during the disciplinary process, the evaluation must be expedited; but, until completed, the student remains in the interim educational placement selected by the IEP team at the disciplinary hearing staffing meeting.

    If a request for an evaluation is made during the time period in which the child is subjected to disciplinary proceedings, the child will remain in the disciplinary setting until evaluations are complete. Upon completion of the evaluations, the school will have an eligibility meeting and determine whether or not the child qualifies for special education services. If so, an IEP will be developed and the child will then be served as determined by the IEP team.

    If the parent requests a due process hearing after the panel staffing to contest the decision of the IEP team, the child will remain in the disciplinary placement until the matter is resolved through the judicial system, or by agreement of the school and the parent.