Suspension and Expulsion of Special Education Students

Suspension and Expulsion of
Special Education Students
Co-Presented by: Mary Samples,
Assistant Superintendent
and Fran Arner-Costello,
Director of Programs and Services,
Ventura County SELPA
2013 Changes to Guidelines
• Alternatives to suspension
• Limits to first time suspensions
• Exceptions to required expulsions
• Rights of Foster Children
Reasons for Changes
• Overidentification of students:
– Minorities
– Gender Identification
– IEPs
Can I Discipline Special
Education Students?
• You can!
• For any infractions in EC 48900
• Special Education requirements just put in
place some “checks and balances” that
students are being disciplined for
misbehavior that they should be able to
control, rather than being punished for
having a disability that they can’t control.
Example of Disabilities Causing
• A student with autism becomes frightened
and disoriented by a high pitched sound,
exacerbated by the autism. If he
hits/bites/kicks the teacher, it is caused by
the autism.
• A student with an auditory processing
disorder does not understand and comply
with the principal’s directions. It is caused
by the learning disability.
Examples When Disability Is Not
Causing Misbehavior
• Student with a learning disability in the
area of math willfully destroys school
• Student in a wheelchair and normal
intelligence sells drugs at school
• Student with a speech-language
impairment starts a racially-motivated fight
Who Decides About Discipline?
• You do!
• In collaboration with the other members of
the IEP team
• Requires an understanding of the various
Special Education disabilities, and what
the characteristics are (rely on your
Special Education professionals)
You may suspend for first time
offenses: (EC48900)
a)1. Caused/threatened physical injury
2. Willfully used force or violence
b) Possessed, sold, furnished a firearm, knife,
explosive or other dangerous object
c) Possessed, sold, used or furnished or under the
influence of a controlled substance
d) Offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell a
controlled substance, alcoholic beverage or
e) Committed/attempted robbery or extortion
You may not suspend for first
time offenses of 48900 (f)-(r)
• You must use alternatives to suspension
Alternatives may include:
In-school suspension (see next slide)
Parent conference
School-wide behavioral strategies
Behavior contracts
You must document when these are utilized.
In-School Suspension
student must:
• Have access to school work (core
• Receive special education services
• Have opportunities for integration with
non-disabled peers
Does NOT count as a day of suspension.
First Ten Days of Suspension
• May discipline Special Education students
just like others (unless you have agreed to
a Behavior Plan that precludes it)
• No more than five days at a time
• If Special Education student is
accumulating a lot of suspensions,
consider a Behavior Plan
Behavior Plans
Part of the IEP
Consider why the behavior is occurring
Attempts to address the why by:
- Changing factors in the school setting
- Changing motivators and reinforcers
- Teaching the student a more appropriate
way of getting the need met
Before Suspending More than
Ten Days
School staff determine if there is a pattern.
Pattern takes into consideration:
Length of suspensions
Proximity of suspensions
Reasons for suspensions
Consideration of Pattern
• Were any of the suspensions especially
long, causing a disruption in learning?
• Were the suspensions so close together
that they caused a disruption in learning?
• Were the suspensions for the same or
similar behaviors?
• Is there a pattern?
If no pattern….
• Document on the “Consideration of
Suspensions for Determination of Pattern”
• You may suspend further (20 total days in
year) but should conduct the
Determination of Pattern process each
time, to see if there is a pattern
• Determine necessary services during
If pattern….
• Schedule an IEP meeting to conduct a
Manifestation Determination Review,
within ten days.
It is best practice to hold the meeting
before 11th day of suspension. Consult
your special education administrator.
Manifestation Determination
This is a “check and balance” for Special
Education students to determine if the
behavior subject to suspension beyond
10 days:
1. Was caused by or had a direct and
substantial relationship to the disability
2. Was caused by the district’s failure to
implement the IEP
• You must consider each of the
misbehaviors for which a student may be
suspended in the future.
• If a Foster Youth, the Social Worker and
the Child’s Attorney should be invited to
the Manifestation Determination meeting.
• Sample Manifestation
If either question is “yes”
Then the behavior is a manifestation of the
disability and you may not suspend
further at this time for that behavior
1) Change the IEP to address the behavior,
for example, services, accommodations,
2) Implement the elements of the plan that
were not appropriately implemented
If it is a Manifestation
• The student must have an FBA-based
Behavior Intervention Plan to address the
behavior in question.
1) If one already exists, it should be reviewed
and revised as necessary
2) If none exists, the team must develop an
assessment plan to conduct a Functional
Behavioral Assessment
If the answer to both
manifestation questions are “no”
• Then the misbehavior is not a
Manifestation of the disability, and you
may suspend for up to 10 more days for
this misbehavior.
• You should consider the need for a
Behavior Plan, or revise the current one.
• Conduct new Manifestation if there is a
new misbehavior.
What About Serious,
Dangerous Behaviors?
If Special Education student:
• Possesses illegal drugs/ sells or solicits
the sale
• Carries or possesses a weapon
• Inflicts serious bodily injury
The student can be placed in an Interim
Alternative Educational Setting (IAES) for
45 school days
• School personnel determine the IAES
• If parents dispute the IAES, the IAES
placement becomes the “stay put” during
the pendency of the dispute
• A Hearing Officer will decide whether the
IAES is appropriate
• Before 45 days, IEP team meets to come
up with a new plan, which may include an
agreed-upon change of placement
Steps During IAES
• Conduct Manifestation Determination (if
not done already)
• If Manifestation, consider change of
• If not a Manifestation, consider expulsion.
Where is an IAES?
Might be:
• Home/ Hospital instruction
• Alternative schools
• Non-Public School
(If a Manifestation) What if Parent
Does not Agree to Change of
Placement at end of 45 Days?
• Get the IEP team working to come to
consensus on new placement after IAES
• File for Due Process if parents do not
• Student returns to the placement s/he
was in when the misbehavior occurs if
not resolved.
Other Situations
• Even if the student did not commit one of the
three IAES behaviors, the school personnel
can place in an IAES if s/he feels the student
is likely to cause serious harm to self or
• If parents object, requires an expedited
hearing with the Hearing Officer to approve
(within 20 days)
• Must show evidence of serious potential for
What about expulsion?
Mandatory for EC 48915 (c)(1)-(5)
Possessing, selling or furnishing a firearm
Brandishing a knife
Selling a controlled substance
Sexual assault or battery
Possession of an explosive
Changes to mandatory
Administrators do not have to recommend
expulsion if:
• circumstances do not warrant expulsion –
and• other means of correction would address
Discipline should be imposed quickly to
avoid loss of instructional time.
Can Special Education Students
be Expelled?
• They can be expelled for the same
reasons as general education students.
• Must have a Manifestation Determination
Review within 10 calendar days of
• If it is a manifestation, you may not expel
for that behavior
• If not a manifestation, you may
recommend for expulsion
If Manifestation
You must take the same steps as for
• Implement elements of the IEP not
appropriately implemented.
• Develop a FBA-based Behavior Plan to
address the behavior.
• You may not move forward on expulsion.
Expelled Special Education
• District remains responsible for student’s
• The district must still provide Special
Education and related services to assist
them in progressing in the core curriculum
during the period of expulsion
• Examples: Non Public Schools,
Alternative Schools, Home/Hospital
If you forget…
The Guidelines are posted on our website under
“Administrative Resources”
Thank you for coming, we hope
it has been helpful!