My child’s been suspended and has an IEP, what are my rights?
It is best to be proactive when your child begins to get in trouble in school. You should request an IEP team meeting and ask that a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) be done the first time your child is suspended or has behaviors in school so that the team can create a behavior intervention plan (BIP) to address the behavioral issues in a positive manner.
When it comes to suspensions, school personnel can suspend a child with a disability for up to 10 consecutive days (10 days in a row) for any violation of a school rule as long as that it is the same disciplinary action (and amount) applied to children without disabilities, except if the offense involves weapons, drugs or serious bodily injury. If your child has been suspended for one of these reasons the rules are very different, so please contact us for more information.
Multiple short-term suspensions (for less than 10 days) for separate incidents are allowed as long as those removals do not add up to more than 10 days total in a school year (also known as a change of placement). During these short term suspensions:
- the child may be placed in another setting
- the school is not required to provide services if services are not provided to children without disabilities
- the school must provide the child with homework and a reasonable amount of time to make up missed work and tests.
During any suspension that totals more than 10 days (whether the suspension is more than 10 days in a row, or if they have been suspended for more than 10 days over the course of the school year), the school district must provide services.
The IEP team must hold a manifestation determination meeting within 10 days of the first day the child is suspended to
- Develop a plan to conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and create (or modify, if they already have one) a behavioral intervention plan (BIP)
- Determine whether the behavior was a causal/manifestation of the child’s disability.
To determine if a behavior is a manifestation of the child’s disability, the LEA representative, the parent and other relevant IEP members must review all pertinent information in the child’s file, the IEP, teacher observations and any information supplied by the parents. To be a manifestation, the behavior must
- Be caused by or have a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability, or
- Be the direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP
If the behavior WAS NOT a manifestation of the disability
- The child may be disciplined in the same manner and amount as children without disabilities, including suspensions and expulsions
- The IEP team must determine what services are necessary to enable the child to progress in the general curriculum and advance towards their IEP goals
- The IEP team may determine that services will be provided in an interim alternative educational setting
If the behavior WAS a manifestation of the child’s disability, the IEP team must:
- Immediately return the child to school
- Conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavior intervention plan, if not done previously, or review and modify the existing plan
- Determine what services are necessary to enable the child to progress in the general curriculum and advance towards achieving their IEP goals