Long Island parents who have a child with disabilities will undoubtedly understand that challenges might arise in school. Some, however, are more serious than others and can lead to various disciplinary steps. For some, the school might remove the child to an Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES). While there are certain behaviors that can result in suspensions of five days, 10 days or outright removal, some activities are taken more seriously. Parents should know what can happen if the child is accused of violence, weapons or drugs.
Potentially dangerous acts
If the removal is due to potentially dangerous acts like causing serious bodily injury, bringing weapons to school, being in possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances, it is imperative for the parents to understand how the New York State Education Department handles these situations, their rights and how to protect their child.
The discipline can come about if the student has inflicted serious bodily injury resulting in serious physical pain, disfigurement, some form of impairment or a risk of death at the school, while at a school event or on school premises. Brining a weapon such as a gun or a knife in these same locations can also warrant this form of discipline. Regarding drugs, if the student uses, sells or solicits its sale, this type of discipline can be given.
In these cases, the superintendent can receive a recommendation from a hearing officer or can decide on their own to place the student in an IAES deemed appropriate for them. It can last for up to 45 school days, but not go beyond the duration of the suspension the superintendent ordered. The student with a disability cannot receive a punishment for these violations that would not have been given to a nondisabled student if they did the same thing. The Committee on Special Education will select the IAES.
Parents and students with disabilities have the right to a fair hearing
When a child is alleged to have committed any of these acts and there is a chance of removal to an IAES, the parents should be cognizant of their rights and be protected by those experienced in education law. Often, the case is complex and there might have been other factors that led to the student reacting the way they did. The school might not be assessing the student or the incident fairly. There could be options that might be better than moving the student to another school. To be protected, it is useful to have advice from those who understand New York State school discipline and what can be done to find a workable solution.