Students with disabilities are still required to follow rules of the school. Therefore, if they break a rule, they may be subject to disciplinary action. However, students with disabilities are also afforded special protection as provided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). There are two situations where these protections apply.
Change in placement
A change in placement occurs when a child is removed from school and prevented from receiving disability-tailored services as required by the IDEA. A child with a disability may still be suspended from school for misbehaving, but if the child is removed for more than 10 days, it will amount to a change in placement and give rise for concern. The 10 days do not need to be consecutive or stem from the same incident.
If a change of placement occurs then the school is required to take certain actions, including adequately notifying the parents and resume providing the child with necessary educational services. The school must also conduct a special review called a manifestation determination.
A manifestation determination occurs when an Individualized Education Program team gets together to assess whether a child’s disability is causing or contributing to the misbehavior in question. If they determine that the Childs disability did not cause the misbehavior, then the child can remain suspended but must still begin receiving the necessary services. If they determine that the misbehavior was in some way caused by the disability, then they must work to try and rectify the situation. The student can also return to school, so long as the student did not bring a weapon to school, having illegal drugs at school, or causing serious injury to another person.
Appealing disciplinary decision
If you are unhappy with how a school disciplines your child, then you can file an appeal with the school board. It is also possible to appeal a manifestation determination. Ultimately, school discipline rules can be complex, so you may want to consider getting advice of an experienced education law attorney.