Discipline of Students who Qualify for Special Education Services
Students who qualify for special education services can be disciplined under the same rules as all students, with the modifications listed below as required by the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and relevant state laws.
Short-term suspensions or emergency expulsions: The general rules relating to school-based discipline or responses, short-term suspensions, or emergency expulsions apply to students who qualify for special education services when the action taken or proposed does not exceed 10 consecutive school days, or when the action taken or proposed does not constitute a pattern of removal from the school.
- Educational services do not have to be provided during the removal unless services are provided to students without disabilities.
Long-term suspensions or expulsions: If the recommended disciplinary action for a student who qualifies for special education services is a long-term suspension or expulsion, or if the removals from school constitute a pattern of removal that adds up to more than 10 days in the school year, a manifestation determination meeting must be held prior to imposing the disciplinary action but not later than 10 days after imposing the disciplinary action.
Manifestation Determination Meeting
A manifestation determination meeting is held to determine whether the student’s conduct is caused by or is the result of the student’s disability or whether the student’s conduct is the result of an inappropriate placement.
- The student’s regular Individual Education Plan (IEP) team members should participate in the meeting.
- If the conduct is not determined to be a manifestation of the student’s disability and is not the result of an inappropriate placement, the student may be disciplined like any other student, and the team should determine which educational services should be provided during the time of removal.
- If the conduct is a manifestation of the student’s disability, then an IEP meeting must be held to determine the services that should be offered in order to provide a free and appropriate public education.
- If the conduct is determined to be the result of an inappropriate placement, an IEP meeting must be held to discuss alternative placements for the student.
Interim Alternative Educational Setting
A student who qualifies for special education may be placed in an interim alternative educational setting (IAES) without a change of placement in the IEP or without a court order for (1) up to 10 days; or (2) up to 45 days if the student carries a gun or other dangerous weapon or sells or distributes illegal drugs on school property or on school-sponsored transportation or a school function; or causes severe injury to another person.
A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) must be established for students whose behavior negatively impacts their ability to reach their educational goals. The plan should prescribe specific disciplinary procedures for the student and may include removal from school for specified amounts of time as part of the IEP. Either school personnel or the parent may request a new IEP meeting and review of the BIP if either finds that the plan is not satisfactory or is in need of revision.
Educational Obligations to a Student Pending Hearing
From the time a parent/guardian initiates a due process hearing through the appeal process, Highline Public Schools is required to providing educational services to a student who qualifies for special education, although those services may not be provided within the school setting.