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Best Practices for Discipline

Suspensions of a Student with a Disability

Out of school suspension is the temporary removal of a student from the school setting where services are delivered for any part of the school day. Any time a child is denied access to any part of the educational services, regardless of the time of day, it is counted as one day of out of school suspension. (When a parent is asked to pick up a child prior to the end of the instructional day, that day is an out of school suspension day and must be recorded as such. If a student is placed in ISS (in school suspension) and no special education services are provided, that day is an out of school suspension day and must be recorded as such.) In school suspension program is a program which removes students from the education settings where they usually receive services for disciplinary purposes for a specified period of time. Short-term removal of less than 10 school days is not a change in placement. Schools must keep track of disciplinary removal days. Schools should report any suspension to the parent immediately (on the day the incident occurs) and provide a full statement of the reasons for the discipline.

When transportation is a related service on the IEP and the student is suspended from the bus, if the student does not report to school or alternative transportation is not provided, the bus removal is counted as an out of school suspension. If transportation is not a related service, disciplinary measures dealing with transportation are not counted as an out of school suspension. However, if behavioral concerns on the bus are limiting the student’s access to services, the behaviors must be addressed by the Individual Education Team. The determination as to whether in-school suspension or bus suspension counts as a day of suspension depends upon the unique circumstances of each case.

Long Term Suspensions
A long term suspension is a removal from the school setting where services are delivered for any part of the school day for more than 10 school days. When the behavior that violates the school’s code of conduct is not a manifestation of the student’s disability and leads to long term suspension for regular education students who exhibit that behavior, a student with a disability may be given a long term suspension. However, the school system is still required to provide a free and appropriate public education for that student by providing services so as to enable the student to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s IEP. Based on the disciplinary removal, the IEP Team must determine how these services will be provided and should amend the IEP to address the service delivery. The IEP, including the DEC 4, page 4 and DEC 5, must indicate that the IEP is being revised due to disciplinary removal. The student should be kept on the LEAs role and should participate in all required assessments, as well as receive grades and credit for course work completed.

Potential Interim Alternative Educational Placements
When a student is recommended for suspension for a disciplinary infraction involving drugs, weapons, or serious bodily injury, a school administrator may remove the student to an alternative educational setting (IAES) for up to 45 school days or follow normal disciplinary procedures providing services beginning on the 11th day of suspension. If the administrator removes the student to an IAES, the IEP Team will determine the appropriate IAES for the student that will allow him/her to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s IEP.

When a student has been recommended for suspension for more than 10 days (cumulative or consecutive constituting a change of placement) and the behavior was NOT a manifestation of his/her disability, normal disciplinary procedures may be followed and services must be provided in an interim alternative educational setting (IAES). The IEP team determines the interim alternative educational setting for services.

There are numerous options that could be considered when placing students in an IAES. The most frequently used placements will be discussed below. Keep in mind that this list of placements is not inclusive. In addition, these placements could be used individually or in combination to meet the educational, behavioral, and social needs of the student.

In School Suspension (ISS)- ISS could be used as an appropriate IAES for students serving a suspension if the student continues to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s IEP. An EC teacher should be the person responsible for providing instruction during the suspension. Special education services during placement in ISS should be documented. Existing ISS programs may be a sufficient setting to offer these services or, if needed, a separate program could be established to meet the needs of students identified as exceptional who have been suspended.

Alternative School - An alternative school could offer a student who has been suspended an opportunity to access services and accommodations/modifications needed to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s IEP. A process will need to be established to identify how students serving suspension will be placed within the alternative school setting. Dependent upon the behavior that prompted a suspension a student could be served within the general population, within a special education classroom, or in a separate, specially designed setting for students serving suspensions.

Day Treatment - A day treatment program, if available, could be beneficial, educationally and therapeutically, for students who have been suspended. Caution should be used in planning services for students placed in Day Treatment to insure the general curriculum can be accessed.

Homebound - Homebound is the most restrictive setting where a student can receive services in the community. Services do not necessarily have to be provided at the student’s home. A variety of locations could be accessed depending on the individual situation. Examples include: the police department, courthouse, library, YMCA, or on the school campus before or after regular school hours. Once again, a student who receives services within the Homebound setting must continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s IEP.

Placing a student with disabilities on homebound is not intended to be a permanent mode of service delivery. This setting should be looked at as temporary and last no longer than the disciplinary action, with the intent of having the child return to his or her regular school setting when appropriate as determined by the IEP team. The IEP team must develop a re-entry plan for transition back to school when placing a student on homebound. This plan should allow the IEP team to determine the goals a student should master while on homebound and document when a student is ready to return to a regular school setting. The plan must include a behavior intervention plan including instruction in behavior skills. Homebound services should be monitored closely and evaluated on a regularly scheduled basis (every 30 days) to determine the effectiveness of the student’s program.

Homebound services should be delivered by a certified teacher with the number of instructional hours being determined by the student’s needs and IEP team. Materials, textbooks, and any other instructional supplies should be provided to the homebound teacher by the home school.

Reminder: When an IEP Team meets to discuss whether or not a behavior that prompted a suspension was a manifestation of the disability, a student’s placement/setting may be changed regardless of the manifestation determination if the team feels the current placement/setting is not allowing the student to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s IEP.

Best practices recommended for transferring from Eckerd Camp, alternative schools, or group homes to his / her previous LEA
Comprehensive /Transitional planning should be scheduled by the IEP team to implement a smooth transition for the student to return to his/her previous school setting. Behavioral and academics goals should be discussed and strategies created for the new setting. If it is anticipated that the student will have behavioral difficulties in the new setting, the IEP team should begin a Functional Behavior Assessment and complete a Behavioral Intervention Plan. The team should also develop appropriate supports for the student to help the student adjust to the environment. New and previous school records, evaluations, and pertinent information relevant to the new setting should be examined during the meeting. A date for the student to attend orientation and to attend the first school day should be scheduled. When necessary a crisis plan, including a phone tree for any emergency, should be developed. A follow-up meeting to review the new placement and plans must be scheduled. In order to do effective planning for the return to the LEA the IEP team members should include: Representative from the current LEA, the Exceptional Children Coordinator/teacher, the counselor of the receiving school, a regular education teacher, the parent(s) of the student, the student, and a representative from any other agency involved with the student (Social Services Department, Mental Health, Juvenile Justice, etc.)

Expulsion of a Student with a Disability
Expulsion is when a student is removed from a school system, the enrollment is terminated and the student can never attend a school in that school system again. When the behavior that violates the school’s code of conduct is not a manifestation of the student’s disability and leads to expulsion for regular education students who exhibit that behavior, it is technically possible to expel the student with a disability. However, the school system is still required to provide a free and appropriate public education so as to enable the student to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s IEP.

Since a student that is expelled is not enrolled by a school system, the LEA would not receive special education funds or ADM funds for the child. As a result it would usually be to the school system’s benefit to keep the student enrolled and long term the student for a specified amount of time rather than expelling the student since the LEA is obligated to provide services.

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