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Suspension/expulsion of a child with a disability

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Updated: 4/13/2007 6:36 pm
A school district may suspend a child with a disability who receives special education services under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act for up to ten consecutive days. However, a series of short-term suspensions in a school year which cumulate to more than ten days may be improper depending on several factors. The school district must convene an Individualized Education Program meeting to develop a functional behavior assessment plan and behavior intervention plan no later then ten days after taking such disciplinary action. Before a school district can suspend a student with a disability for more than ten days, or expel a student, a school district must follow specific procedural requirements. A student with a disability who has not yet been made eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act may assert the Act's protection under certain circumstances. If it's determined that the behaviors are a manifestation of the student's disability, the school district may not take such disciplinary action. If it's determined that the behaviors are not a manifestation of the student's disability, regular disciplinary procedures apply, and the school district may suspend for more than ten days or expel the student, but must continue to provide the student with educational services. A parent has the right to request a hearing to dispute the manifestation determination. A school district may change the placement of the child with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for up to 45 days if the child carries a weapon to school or to a school function, or if the child knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or at a school function. If you have questions or concerns regarding the suspension or expulsion of a child with a disability, please consult an experienced attorney.
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