SPECIAL EDUCATION DISCIPLINE
IDEA 2004 provides added procedures and safeguards for a student with a disability whom the district is considering removing from his or her current educational placement for disciplinary reasons. A student with a disability is to be defined as;
- a student with an IEP.
- a studnet with a 504.
- a student in the multidisciplinary evaluation process.
- a student for whom the district has recieved, in writing, a notification of a potential disability.
Students with disabilities who are subject to disciplinary actions by a district are entitled to all of the due process rights afforded students without disabilities under West Virginia Code §18A-5-1a. In addition to these rights, IDEA 2004 provides added procedures and safeguards for a student with a disability whom the district is considering removing from his or her current educational placement for disciplinary reasons. The district must consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when determining whether a change of placement is appropriate for a student with a disability. However, these procedures do not prevent district personnel from maintaining a safe environment conducive to learning that is critical for all students.
Disciplinary Change of Placement
A disciplinary change of placement is a removal from the student’s current educational placement for more than ten consecutive school days or a series of removals that constitutes a pattern. A pattern is established when the series of removals totals more than ten cumulative school days in a school year, the student’s behavior is substantially similar to his/her behavior in the previous incidents that resulted in the series of removals, and additional factors such as the length of each removal, the total amount of time the student is removed, and the proximity of the removals to one another. Whether a pattern of removals constitutes a change of placement must be determined on a case-by-case basis by school personnel and must be documented on the Disciplinary Action Review Form (DARF).
If the district is considering removing a student with a disability from his or her current educational placement for disciplinary reasons beyond ten consecutive school days or more than ten cumulative school days when the district deems that a pattern exists, a manifestation determination must be held to determine the relationship between the student’s disability and the behavior subject to disciplinary action. This review must be documented on the Disciplinary Action Review Form. Whenever considering a disciplinary action that will result in a change of placement, the district must:
- Provide same day written notice of the removal, PWN, and the procedural safeguards notice to the parent/adult student of the disciplinary action to be taken; and
- Within ten school days of any decision to change placement, meet with the parent and relevant members of the IEP Team (as determined by the parent and district) to conduct a manifestation determination by reviewing all pertinent information in the student’s file, including the student’s IEP, any teacher observations, and any relevant information provided by the parents to determine:
- If the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to the student’s disability; or
- If the conduct in question was the direct result of the district’s failure to implement the IEP.