Has your child’s teacher or principal ever called and asked you to pick up your son or daughter early from school because of a behavior problem? As parents, when this happens our first instinct is to comply and quickly and apologetically pick up our child. But, if your child has a disability that qualifies him or her to have an IEP, picking up your child without a formal suspension keeps the school from being held accountable for their part in the problem.
Under the IDEA, children with an IEP who are suspended for 10 or more cumulative days in a school year are technically receiving a change of placement. When this happens, the IEP team needs to convene to hold what is called a Manifestation Determination meeting. At this meeting, the team discusses whether or not the child’s problem behavior is a direct result of his or her disability. If the behavior is unrelated to the disability, the suspension can continue. But, if the behavior is deemed to be a manifestation of the child’s disability, the team needs to figure out why and how to fix the problem.
Your child has a right to remain in school and to make meaningful progress within their curriculum. Formal suspensions help to make sure your child is in the correct placement and has the proper supports in place. Give me a call if you need help navigating the manifestation determination process!
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