Section 504 protects disabled students from being improperly removed from school for misconduct that is related to their disability. As a general rule, Section 504 and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) apply to the disciplinary removal of disabled students in a similar manner.
Disciplinary actions that exclude a student for more than 10 consecutive days or create a pattern of exclusion from school (as described in the 504 manual) require that the district evaluate the student to determine whether the student’s misconduct is either related to his or her disability or due to an inappropriate placement. This type of evaluation is commonly called a “manifestation determination.”
If a disabled student’s misconduct is a manifestation of his or her disability, a district cannot implement a disciplinary action that constitutes a significant change in placement. If a disabled student’s misconduct is not a manifestation of his or her disability, a district can discipline the student in the same manner that it disciplines non-disabled students for the same misconduct.
Under Section 504, unlike IDEA, a district does not have to provide a disabled student with educational services during the period of time the student is properly removed from school for disciplinary reasons. For more detailed procedures, see the district’s 504 manual