Behavior and School Discipline

There are a number of situations that can happen if your child has behavioral issues in school and has an IEP. Here are some common situations:

My child is hurting himself or others, or is destroying property.
Because such behavior may interfere with your child’s IEP goals, the school is required to develop a behavior intervention plan for serious behavior problems that cause a student to harm himself or others, or that are destructive. The behavior intervention plan is intended to bring about positive behavioral changes. It should be incorporated into your child’s IEP.

My child is in special education and was suspended or expelled from school.
A student may be suspended from school if the principal determines that the student has committed one of the acts described beginning in section 48900 of the California Education Code. Suspension rules apply to special education students just as they apply to nondisabled students. However, if a special education student is suspended for more than 10 consecutive school days (or 10 cumulative days for the same or similar offenses) or there is a decision to expel the student, the district must call an IEP meeting to determine whether the behavior leading to the suspension is a manifestation (a result) of the student’s disability or whether the behavior is a result of the school’s failure to implement the student’s IEP. This meeting is called a manifestation determination and requires the attendance of the parent and other relevant members of the IEP team, as determined by the school and the parent.

The IEP team determined that the misconduct was not a manifestation of my child’s disability.
If the team determines that the conduct was not a manifestation of your child’s disability and that the placement was appropriate, then your child will be subject to regular disciplinary procedures, including expulsion.

The IEP team determined that the misconduct was a manifestation of my child’s disability.
If the team determines that the conduct was a manifestation of your child’s disability or that the behavior resulted from the school’s failure to implement the IEP, your child may not be expelled and the school must take measures to address his or her behavior.

I disagree with the conclusions of the IEP team about my child's behavioral issues.
If you disagree with the team’s conclusions—either about the appropriateness of your child’s placement or the manifestation determination—or with its decision to rely on certain information, you have the right to request a hearing.

My child has a behavioral issue but has not yet been determined to be eligible for special education.
If your child has not been found eligible for special education and has engaged in misconduct, he or she may still be protected from discipline or expulsion if the school knew that your child had a disability before the disciplinary action. The school is considered to have known of the disability if the parent had expressed concern in writing or submitted a request for assessment—or if the child’s teacher or another district employee had expressed concern about the child’s behavior—to the director of special education or other supervisory personnel.

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