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JKA, Special Education Discipline

 

DISCIPLINE of STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

 

All students are expected to meet the standards of behavior required by the district and the individual schools within the district. There are, however, some specific considerations regarding the discipline of students with disabilities. Students with disabilities, as defined by federal and state law and regulations, shall be subject to the provisions of the student handbook except as otherwise provided by this policy or by the student’s IEP or 504 Plan. The IDEA and M.G.L.c.71B require that additional provisions be made for students who have been found by an evaluation TEAM to have special needs and whose individualized program is described in an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).

 The IDEA and M.G.L. c. 71B allow school personnel to move a student with disabilities to an interim alternative educational setting (IAES) for up to 45 school days, if that student is in possession of a dangerous weapon at school or a school function or on school property, is in possession or uses a controlled substance or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function or on school property, or inflicts serious bodily injury on a person, including him/herself. The appropriate IAES shall be determined by the IEP TEAM.

 The IDEA and M.G.L. c. 71B also allow school personnel the option of asking a hearing officer or a court to move children with disabilities to an IAES for up to 45 school days, if they are substantially likely to injure themselves or others in their current placement. If a special education student has been placed in an interim alternative education setting as a result of a disciplinary action, the student may remain in the interim setting for a period not to exceed 45 days. Thereafter, the special education student will return to the previously agreed-upon educational placement unless either a hearing officer orders another placement or the parent(s) agrees to another placement.

 

When a special needs student has been suspended for more than ten (10) consecutive or cumulative days in a school year, such that a substantial change in placement is occurring or will occur, the IEP TEAM will meet to conduct a manifestation determination. Relevant members of the TEAM meet for the manifestation determination, and they answer two questions, after reviewing relevant documents and the misconduct of the student:

1. Is the misconduct the direct result of the District’s/school’s failure to implement the student’s IEP?

2. Is the misconduct caused by, or does it have a direct and substantial relationship to the student’s disability/disabilities?

 A summary of the manifestation determination review will be written and a copy provided to the Parent(s)/guardian(s) as soon as possible after the review, but no later than five (5) school days after the review.

 

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If the TEAM finds that the misconduct was a manifestation of the student’s disability, the TEAM will arrange for a functional behavioral assessment (if one has not been conducted on the student) and the development or modification of a behavior intervention plan. The school may still be able to implement an IAES (see above). If the IAES is not possible, then the student will remain in his/her current placement unless the parent (s) agrees to another placement.

 If the TEAM finds that the misconduct was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, then the student may be disciplined according to the discipline policy in the student handbook. The student will receive educational services during this period of suspension or exclusion. The Team must determine the educational services necessary for a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and for the manner and location of these services.

 The Principal (or designee) will notify the Special Education Office of the suspendable offenses of a special needs student and a record will be kept of such notices.

 

If a parent(s) disagrees with the Team’s decision of manifestation determination or with a placement of a student in an interim alternative educational setting or any other disciplinary action, the parent(s) has the right to request an expedited hearing from the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. If school personnel are concerned that the student’s placement may result in injury to others, they may request a hearing with a Bureau of Special Education Appeals hearing officer.

 

 Students Identified As Having a Disability and Provided with a Section 504 Plan

A student on a Section 504 plan may be disciplined like any other non-disabled student. However, if the student is going to be suspended for ten (10) or more consecutive days, expelled or suspended for more than ten (10) cumulative days (and there is a change in placement as a result), then a manifestation determination review shall be conducted. The student’s 504 Team shall convene, and answer two questions, after reviewing relevant documents and the misconduct of the student:

  1. Is the misconduct the direct result of the District’s/school’s failure to implement the student’s 504 Plan? 2.
  2. Is the misconduct caused by, or does it have a direct and substantial relationship to the student’s disability/disabilities?

A summary of the manifestation determination review will be written and a copy provided to the Parent(s)/guardian(s) as soon as possible after the review, but no later than five (5) school days after the review.

 If the TEAM finds that the misconduct was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, then the student may be disciplined according to the discipline policy in this handbook. Upon returning from his/her suspension/expulsion, the TEAM will arrange for a functional behavioral assessment (if one has not been conducted on the student) and the development or modification of a behavior intervention plan.

The Principal (or designee) will notify the Student Support Services Office of the suspendable offenses of Section 504 students and a record will be kept of such notices.

 If a parent/guardian disagrees with the result of a manifestation determination hearing, or if school personnel are concerned that the student’s placement may result in injury to others, they may request a hearing with a Bureau of Special Education Appeals hearing officer.

 

Students Not Yet Determined to be Eligible for Special Education or Accommodations under Section 504

The law applies to general education students if the school system had knowledge prior to the misconduct that the student was disabled. Under the law, a school district is presumed to have “had knowledge” that a general education student was disabled if the student’s:

Parent(s)/guardian(s) has “expressed concern in writing” to the school distinct that the student is in need of special education and related services;

 Parent(s)/guardian(s) has requested a special education evaluation of the child; or

District staff have “expressed concern” directly to the special education direction or other supervisory personnel specific concerns about a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the student.

If there was no knowledge, the parent(s)/guardian(s) may request an expedited evaluation. During this period, the student may be suspended or expelled under normal School Committee policy.

 

 [Adopted: June 2001]

 

[Revised: June 2003]

 

[Reviewed:  June 2014]

 

[Revised: January 2016]

 

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