Few kids do not get into some kind of trouble during their years at school. In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to the school suspending them.
While parents always have the right to call the school and complain that they don’t agree with the decision, often their pleas are ignored. In the case of parents whose children have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), there is one more channel available – a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR).
Schools must carry out MDRs
Schools must carry out an MDR for a child with an IEP or disability facing a suspension of 10 days or more in a row or 11 days in any school year for suspensions based on the same or similar behavior.
The review panel needs to determine two things:
- Did the child act this way due to their disability or special educational needs?
- Did they act this way because the school had failed to provide for their special educational needs?
If the answer is yes to either or both of those questions, then the school cannot suspend the child – at least not this time. The decision does not remove their option to suspend the child for other matters in the future.
Parents should attend the review
The review will involve the child’s parents (or legal guardian) as well as school staff with appropriate knowledge of the child and members of the school’s Special Education Committee.
If you feel your child should be eligible for an MDR but the school says not, or if you get one, but are unhappy about the outcome, it’s wise to learn more about your legal options.