What is a Manifestation Determination Review?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2021 | Education Law |

Children get in trouble sometimes. When it happens at school, if they are disciplined, it can include suspension. But a child who has a disability also has special rights and protections when they are suspended. One such protection is the Manifestation Determination Review.

What is the purpose of a Manifestation Determination Review

When a child with a disability acts out and the school elects to suspend them, the reason for the child’s actions must be investigated. This is where the Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) comes in, because the child cannot be removed from their class or the school if the unwelcome behavior was a manifestation of their disability.

There are two primary questions that must be asked and answered at an MDR. The first is whether the child’s behavior was caused by or related to their disability. The second question is whether the behavior was caused by the school’s failure to follow the child’s IEP. If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then the child cannot be suspended or removed.

When does an MDR happen?

The school must hold an MDR when a student is either suspended for 10 days in a row or is suspended for 11 total days within the same school year. Following the MDR, if the school determines the behavior is not related to the child’s disability, the suspension will stand. However, if the suspension is long enough, the child can be placed in a temporary, alternative educational setting, so long as it is consistent with the child’s IEP. If the parents disagree with the results of the MDR, they can appeal it and request a hearing to have the decision reviewed.