Discipline and Students with Special Needs
All students are expected to meet the requirements for conduct and behavior as set forth in student handbooks. In addition to those due process protections afforded to all students, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and related regulations require that additional provisions be made for students who have been found eligible for special education services or who the district knows or has reason to believe might be eligible for Special Needs Service. Students who have been found to have a disability that substantially limits a major life activity, as defined under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, must also be afforded these increased procedural protections prior to imposing discipline that will result in the student’s removal for more than ten (10) consecutive school days or ten (10) cumulative school days (if constituting a change in placement) in a single school year. The following additional requirements apply to the discipline of students with disabilities:
Students with disabilities may be expelled, or removed from the current setting permanently for disciplinary reasons. However IDEA regulations specify that continued educational services representing a free and appropriate public education must be provided, even though a student may not be allowed to return to the same setting.
A manifestation determination is required prior to any removal constituting a change in placement. Where appropriate, development of a Functional Behavioral Assessment Plan or a review of an existing Behavior Intervention Plan is indicated. This Manifestation determination must be made no later than on the 11th cumulative day of removal; the student will be afforded services as mandated by FAPE.
Each school must report annually to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education the number of children with disabilities suspended out of school for drug, weapon, or other offenses, by both disability and race. School Administrators will consult with the Special Education Department prior to the imposition of any disciplinary exclusion of a student when handling discipline of students with special needs.