Today, we’re going to talk about the fact that yes, a child with an IEP can be suspended and even expelled from school.
Some parents have a misunderstanding that a child who has an IEP cannot be disciplined, cannot receive a referral, cannot be suspended or cannot be expelled from public school, and that is not the case. All children, even children with an IEP, have to abide by school discipline rules and behavior guidelines. If a child violates the code of conduct for that district, violates those rules, has behavior that is considered unacceptable, then that child with an IEP can receive a referral or a suspension, just like any other child, just like a typical child in the school system. The difference is that there is an extra step for children who have an IEP that applies in these situations that does not apply to children who do not have an IEP. Here’s what I mean…
A typical general education student who does not have an IEP and who has bad behaviors, who does something wrong can receive referrals, can receive suspensions. When that child reaches 10 suspensions and 10 is the number, when that typical gen-ed child who does not have an IEP reaches 10 suspensions, then depending on the violation of the district’s code of conduct, that child can be reprimanded accordingly. Including the fact that they can be expelled from school if the behavior that occurred is that serious. If it’s a level four offense, they may be expelled from school.
However, a child who has an IEP who, let’s say, did the exact same thing that the gen-ed student did, the child with the IEP when they’ve reached 10 suspensions must have a manifestation meeting. And this is critical and this is one of the benefits of children having an IEP, particularly if they have behavior challenges. When the child hits 10 days of suspensions, accumulates that many days, then the school must have a manifestation meeting.
This means that the school must meet with you as the parent, whomever you want to bring to that meeting. They will have other people from the district most likely attending the meeting. It’s a big deal. They will have a meeting so everyone can discuss, was the behavior that took place, a result, a manifestation of the child’s medical diagnosis? Was it a manifestation, a result of their disability? All right? That is what the team has to decide. That manifestation meeting is afforded to children who have an IEP. So it gives an extra step, an extra time, an extra moment for the team to get together and determine did it happen? Did the event happen? And number two, was it a result of the child’s disability? Critically important.
Manifestation meetings are so important. I cannot stress this to you enough. I’ve got more trainings on these meetings that I encourage you to listen to. If your child is prone to behavior challenges, this is not to be taken lightly. There are very, very serious events that happen in the school system and schools take them very seriously.
So please listen to the other trainings that follow. Thank you.
The IEP Advocate is your best shot at helping your child succeed in school (and life). We help parents get the school to approve and follow individual education plans (IEPs) for their children who are struggling in school. Even if the school is saying “no” to you, we’ll get them to say “yes” to us!