Students with disabilities have specific safeguards and rights by federal and state laws and cannot be excluded from their educational program without following specific procedures. However, there is mothering in IDEA that restricts schools from disciplining students with disabilities.
Students with disabilities can be suspended up to 10 school days in a school year without regard to the student’s disability. If school administrators seek to suspend a student for more than 10 days during a school year, then the administrator must discipline the student in accordance with the IDEA’s disciplinary provisions.
Students with disabilities who are considered for long term suspensions or for whom a pattern is determined must have a Manifestation Determination Review. A Manifestation Determination Review is to determine whether a student’s misconduct is related to the student’s disability, then the school district must return the student to his current placement unless the parent and the school agree to a change of placement. If unrelated, the school may proceed with the discipline.
Repeated problematic behavior should be addressed early through the IEP process. IEP teams should conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment to develop a deeper understanding of the root cause of the student’s behavior. Once an IEP team has completed the FBA, the team should develop and implement a Behavioral Intervention Plan. A Behavioral Intervention Plan can help replace problem behaviors with more position ones.
Available Resources concerning Discipline Student with Disabilities
Parent Rights and Responsibilities in Special Education: Notice of Procedural Safeguards
NC Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities
Discipline of Students with Disabilities Flowchart