My staff knows that if a parent calls our office stating that they have a “manifestation meeting” coming up, they are to track me down and put that call through to me no matter what. The situation is that important and, quite literally, the quality of a child’s life hangs in the balance.
Manifestation meetings, are meetings parents are invited to attend with members of the school and school district as a result of the student being suspended for 10 days because they have violated the code of student conduct.
Under IDEA, “within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct,” the school, parent and relevant members of the student’s IEP team must determine if the behavior was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child’s disability, and if the conduct in question was the direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP.
Put another way, a manifestation determination meeting must take place within ten school days of the decision to change the child’s educational placement for disciplinary reasons. This means the district may decide to remove your child from their current school and expel them or move them to an alternative placement. It is an extremely serious situation and one that you as a parent should not deal with by yourself.
Many children who have an IEP are susceptible for suspensions and other disciplinary action due to their disabilities. When a child is suspended for 10 days or more, the public school must hold a meeting to determine what will happen to the child. In many cases, children are sent to the “alternative school” which may be the school in the district where all children – who have a disability or who are typical children and have disciplinarian issues – are placed for 45 days. That is called changing the child’s educational placement for disciplinary reasons.
If you as a parent are not familiar with manifestation meetings and you do not know your rights or your child’s rights, the chances that the school will send your child to an alternative school are high. Fortunately, at The IEP Advocate, we’ve successfully helped parents navigate through this process. Please call us — it is NOT a time to try to fix this on your own.