What is the process for a manifestation determination hearing?

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2021 | Education Law |

The main goal of schools in New York is to help children learn and prepare them for life as they grow older. Schools generally have a set curriculum and teachers have certain styles of teaching. The curriculum and teaching style is generally tailored to the majority of students. However, there are many children that have various physical or mental disabilities, which require the schools to develop an individualized education plan (IEP) for those children. These plans are designed to ensure those children receive the services they need in school.

To help achieve the goal of teaching children in school, there are also many different rules in place that children need to follow while in school. If students do not follow those rules, there are various punishments that may occur. If the behavior is bad enough then students may be suspended from school. Similarly, to how students with disabilities may have different education plans than students without disabilities, there are a different set of rules for suspensions and disciplinary hearings for children with disabilities as well.

Manifestation determination hearing basics

If students with disabilities are suspended for at least 10 consecutive days or 11 days throughout the school year for similar behavior, it is deemed a change in placement. If that occurs there must be a manifestation determination hearing to determine if the behavior leading to the suspension was caused by the disability or not.

There is a disciplinary team which will review the behavior and the IEP to make the determination. If the behavior was caused by the disability the child can return to school immediately. If not, then the suspension will continue. Parents do have an opportunity to challenge the determination though. After making a written complaint, there needs to be a meeting and if the issue is not resolved then there will be a hearing in front of a hearing officer to determine if the initial determination was correct.

There are many ways that disabilities affect children’s behavior in New York schools. It is important that they are handled properly and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.