OMS Parent Student Handbook - Discipline & Suspension of Students with Disabilities
Overlook Middle School
In general, all students are expected to meet the requirements for behavior as set forth in the AWRSD student handbooks and the school’s code of conduct, unless otherwise determined by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process. All students receive prior written notice regarding the school’s code of conduct as described in the handbooks. Provisions and procedural protections of law for students with disabilities who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Accommodation Plan are outlined below.
Procedures For Suspension Not Exceeding Ten (10) School Days:
- Students with disabilities may be suspended for up to ten (10) days during a school year. Disciplinary decisions are the same as for students without disabilities.
Procedures For Suspension When Suspension Exceeds Ten (10) School Days:
- If a student with a disability is suspended for more than ten (10) school days in a school year, either cumulatively (for example, the student is suspended for three school days on four separate occasions) or all at once, this removal is considered a “change of placement”. A change of placement invokes certain procedural protections under federal special education law and Section 504.
- No later than the date of the start of any disciplinary action, the Principal must notify the parent or guardian of the decision and provide written notice of procedural safeguards.
- The Principal must also immediately notify the Director of Pupil Services of students with disabilities who are suspended for ten (10) or more days or who are nearing their tenth (10th) day with a school year. Notification must be in writing.
- Prior to any removal that constitutes a change in placement, the school will inform the parent or guardian that the law requires the school district to consider whether or not the behavior that formed the basis of the disciplinary action was caused by or had a direct relationship to the student’s disability or was a direct result of the school district’s failure to implement the IEP. This consideration is called a “manifestation determination”. Parents and guardians have a right to participate in this process along with school administrators and relevant team members. All relevant information in the student’s file will be considered including evaluation and diagnostic results, observational data, the student's IEP or Section 504 Plan, behavior intervention plans, information provided by the parent, guardian and student.
- At a manifestation determination meeting, the team will consider: Did the student’s disability cause or have a direct and substantial relationship to the conduct in question? Was the conduct a direct result of the school district’s failure to implement the IEP?
- If the manifestation determination decision is that the disciplinary action was related to the disability, then the student returns to school prior to the 11th day (unless under special circumstances or if the parent/guardian and district agree otherwise). The team will review and examine the patterns of behavior and discuss appropriate responses to support the student, including assessments and/or changes to the IEP as necessary. This may include but is not limited to completion of a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) if not already/previously recently completed and behavioral intervention plan and/or modification of an existing behavior plan to address the behavior so that it does not recur.
- If the manifestation determination decision is that the disciplinary action was not related to the disability, then the school may impose sanctions applicable to all students to suspend or
otherwise discipline the student according to the school’s code of conduct. During the period of time of removal from school that exceeds ten (10) school days, the school will provide educational services that will meet the student’s unique needs, allow them to make progress in the general curriculum and to continue to receive services identified in their IEP, including services to address the problem behavior(s).
Special Circumstances For Expulsion:
- Special circumstances exist if a student: possesses, uses, sells or solicits illegal drugs on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event; carries a weapon to school or a school-sponsored event; or inflicts serious bodily injury (i.e. substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted/obvious disfigurement and/or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty) upon another person at school, on school premises or a school-sponsored event/function. Under these circumstances, the school district may unilaterally remove a student with a disability to an Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES) for up to forty-five (45) school days.
- The district will ensure that while the student is placed in the Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES), the student will be provided educational services that will meet their unique needs, allow them to make progress in the general curriculum and to continue to receive services identified in their IEP, including services to address the problem behavior(s).
- At the conclusion of the forty-five (45) school days, the student will return to the previously agreed upon placement unless the parent or guardian (or student if over age 18) consents to an extension of the Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES) or an order is obtained authorizing the student’s continued removal.
Hearing Officer Authority:
- If a special circumstance as noted above does not exist but the student is a danger and substantially likely to injure themselves or others, the school district may remove the student to an Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES) by obtaining authorization from a court a Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) Hearing Officer or with parent or guardian consent.