Discipline, Suspension & Expulsion

Introduction to the Law Governing the Discipline of Students with Disabilities

The Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004 (IDEA) and the 2006 regulations that implement the IDEA govern the discipline of students with disabilities. Schools must follow these laws.

Schools may make unilateral changes in placement:

  • For 10 school days or less for students who violate code of conduct.
  • For 11 or more school days for violations of code of conduct IF NOT a manifestation of disability.
  • For 45 days or less for weapons, drugs or infliction of serious bodily injury.

Services during change of placement:

  • Setting determined by IEP team.
  • Participation in general education curriculum.
  • Progress to meet IEP goals.
  • Behavioral services to prevent recurrence.

Manifestation Determinations

The rules are different depending on whether or not the conduct was a manifestation of the student’s disabilities.

Within 10 school days of any decision to change placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of code of conduct, the local educational agency (LEA), parent and relevant members of the IEP team (determined by parent and LEA) shall review all relevant information in the student’s file, including IEP, teacher observation, and any relevant information provided by the parents to determine if the action or conduct was a manifestation of the student’s disability.

If the LEA, parent and relevant members of the IEP team determine that either reason 1 or 2 below apply, the conduct shall be determined to be a manifestation of the student’s disability.

  1. If the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the student’s disability; or
  2. If the conduct in question a direct result of the LEA’s failure to implement the IEP.

When Conduct is a Manifestation

  1.  A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) must be conducted,
  2. A Positive Behavioral Intervention Plan (PBIP) must be implemented, and
  3. The Student must return to his/her current placement unless the parent and school district agree otherwise as part of the modification of the PBIP.

When Conduct is Not a Manifestation

  1. School may discipline student in the same manner and for the same duration as a student without disabilities.
  2. Educational and related services must still be provided.
  3. Student is still entitled to a free and appropriate public education.