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Section 12

ak dept education

special ed handbook
SECTION 12
DISCIPLINE PROCEDURES

Children with Disabilities are Entitled to Additional Rights

Children with disabilities who are subject to disciplinary actions by a school district are entitled to the same due process rights afforded children without disabilities. However, IDEA 2004 provides additional rights and protections to children with disabilities upon their receiving disciplinary removal of more than 10 school days in a school year.

General Discipline Rules


The general rules pertaining to the discipline of children in special education are as follows:
  1. All children, with or without disabilities, are entitled to certain rights before they can be excluded from school for any period of time.
  2. Short-term removals of up to 10 school days in a school year may be utilized for children in special education to the extent they would be applied to children without disabilities.
  3. Exclusion of a child with a disability for more than 10 school days in a school year cannot be made without following the procedures of IDEA 2004.
  4. A change of placement occurs if a child is removed for more than 10 consecutive school days or is subjected to a series of removals that constitute a pattern because they cumulate to more than ten school days in a school year. The determination of whether a pattern exists may be based on factors such as the length of each removal, the total amount of time the child is removed, and the proximity of the removals to one another.
  5. Schools do not need to provide services during the first 10 school days in a school year that a child is removed. Any removal or series of removals of more than 10 school days in a school year requires the District to provide services by day 11 to the extent determined necessary to enable the child to appropriately progress in the general education curriculum and appropriately advance toward achieving the goals of his or her IEP.
  6. Under certain conditions (i.e., possession of weapons, illegal drugs or serious bodily injury), the District may use interim alternative educational placements (IAES) for not more than 45 school days for children with disabilities, if children without disabilities would be placed in alternative educational placements or would be excluded from school for the same disciplinary action.
  7. The District may seek, through an expedited hearing or the court system, to have a hearing officer order the removal of a child for up to 45 school days if keeping the child in his or her current placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or others.
  8. If the District contemplates any disciplinary action constituting a change of placement then, not later than the date on which the decision to take the action is made, the parents must receive prior written notice of that decision and of their procedural safeguards (parent rights) under IDEA 2004.
  9. School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when deciding to order a change in placement for a child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct. The student may be removed from their current placement to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension, for not more than 10 school days (to the extent such alternatives are applied to children without disabilities) and for additional removals of not more than 10 consecutive days in that same school year for misconduct as long as those removals do not constitute a change in placement. However, after the student has been removed for 10 school days in the same school year during any subsequent removals, the public agency must provide services.
  10. Within 10 business days after the District decides to take disciplinary action involving the placement of a child with a disability in an IAES, the IEP Team must conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and create a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) if one has not already been created; if a plan has already been created, the IEP Team must review it and modify it as necessary.
  11. Either before or within 10 school days after the District decides to take any disciplinary action constituting a change of placement, the IEP Team and other qualified personnel will conduct a manifestation determination review.
  12. Manifestation determination meeting must occur within 10 school days of any decision to change placement. The District, parent, and relevant members of the IEP Team (determined by parent and District), shall review all information to determine:

    • if the conduct was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability,
    • if the conduct was a direct result of the District’s failure to implement the IEP.

      1. If behavior was a manifestation of the child’s disability, the IEP Team must conduct a Functional Behavior Analysis and implement a Behavior Plan or review an existing plan and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior. The child will return to the placement from which he or she was removed for discipline, unless the parent and District agree to a change of placement as part of the modification of the behavioral intervention plan.
      2. If violation is determined NOT to be a manifestation of the child’s disability, school personnel is permitted to discipline a child with a disability for the same length of time and in the same manner as non-disabled children but must continue educational services in another setting.

        Whether or not the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the child’s disability, the child shall continue to receive educational services so as to enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and progress toward meeting the goals of the child’s IEP. As appropriate, the child will receive a functional behavioral assessment, behavioral intervention services and modifications that are designed to address the behavior violations so that it does not recur.

  13. Even when a child with a disability is excluded from school for behavior that is not a manifestation of his or her disability, special education services must continue to be provided during an expulsion or suspension of more than 10 consecutive days.
  14. If a child whose behavior is subject to disciplinary action is not receiving special education, but the District suspects or has knowledge that the child had a disability prior to the behavior occurring, then this child would also be protected under IDEA 2004. If a request for an evaluation of the child is received during the disciplinary time period, the evaluation must be completed immediately to determine if the child is eligible for special education and therefore protected by IDEA 2004.
  15. Removing a child from his or her assigned classroom for inappropriate behavior may constitute a removal, unless it is for short-term crisis management. In-school suspensions are not counted if the child:

    • is afforded the opportunity to continue to appropriately progress in the general education curriculum;
    • continues to receive the services designated in the IEP; and,
    • continues to participate with children without disabilities to the same extent as in their current placement.

      However, portions of a school day for which a child is removed from his or her current setting do count toward the 10 cumulative days.

  16. The removal of a child with a disability from transportation services that causes the child to not attend school also counts toward the cumulative days of removal, unless transportation services were not contained in the IEP or the District provides an alternative means of transporting the child to school.
Specific Discipline Procedures

School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when deciding to order a change in placement for a child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct.

The student may be removed from their current placement to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension, for not more than 10 school days (to the extent such alternatives are applied to children without disabilities).

Specific procedures regarding disciplinary measures and student placement are described below for the following scenarios:
  1. Removal for 10 or Fewer Cumulative School Days in a School Year

    A child with a disability may be removed from his or her current placement for 10 consecutive days or up to 10 cumulative school days in a school year for any violation of school rules to the same extent that removal would be applied to children without disabilities. The District does not need to provide services during these first 10 days of suspension in a school year if services are not provided to children without disabilities. Children should not be suspended for behavior related to their disability that is addressed in their IEPs.School personnel may order additional removals of not more than 10 consecutive days in the same school year for separate incidents of misconduct as long as the removals do not constitute a change of placement as defined in item 4 of the general discipline rules listed above.

  2. Removal for More than 10 Cumulative School Days and No Pattern

    Within 10 business days after the District first removes a child for more than 10 school days in a school year, the IEP Team must conduct an FBA and create a BIP if this was not previously done. If the child already has a BIP, the IEP Team must review it and modify it as necessary. Services must be provided on the 11th cumulative day of removal as determined by the administrator in consultation with the special education teacher. These services must be provided to the extent necessary to enable the child to appropriately progress in the general education curriculum and appropriately advance toward achieving the goals of his or her IEP. This process is the same for subsequent removals of 10 consecutive school days or fewer and no pattern is established.

  3. Removals for More Than 10 Consecutive School Days or Pattern

    Removals constituting a change of placement require all of the following procedures:
    1. Parent notification The child's parents must be notified of the disciplinary action to be taken and informed of their procedural safeguards (parent rights) under IDEA 2004, no later than the date on which the decision to take the action was made.
    2. Review or development of behavioral intervention plans (BIPs) Within 10 business days after ordering any removal constituting a change of placement, the IEP Team will meet to consider the problem behavior that precipitated the disciplinary change of placement and do the following:
      • Review and modify the child's BIP as needed to address the problem behavior; or
      • Conduct an FBA and create a BIP if one has not been created. The components of the BIP should be implemented as soon as is practical.

        (See Appendix J for further information on FBAs and BIPs.)If one or more of the team members believe that modifications are needed, the team shall meet to modify the plan and its implementation, to the extent the team determines necessary.

  4. 5-Day Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES)

    The superintendent, or a designee, may order a change in the child's placement to an appropriate IAES, for no more than 45 school days (to the extent that such measures are applied to non-disabled children), if:

    1. The child carries a weapon to school or to a school function; or
    2. The child possesses or uses illegal drugs, or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or at a school function; or
    3. The child has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person at school.

    (For definitions of controlled substance, illegal drugs, or weapons, see Appendix J)

    An appropriate IAES must meet the following three criteria:

    1. Be determined by the IEP Team.
    2. Be selected to enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum – although in another setting – and to continue to receive services and modifications included in the current IEP.
    3. Include services and modifications designed to address the behavior so that it does not recur.

    All change of placement procedures including parent notice, BIP review or development, and manifestation determination must also be completed.

  5. 45-Day Interim IAES placements by Hearing Officers

    If the District considers a child to be a danger to self or others, it may request an expedited administrative hearing to ask a hearing officer to place the child in a 45-day IAES (see below for more details regarding the expedited hearing). The District may make such a request:

    1. As an initial disciplinary action;
    2. To follow a 10-day disciplinary placement change by school personnel; or
    3. To follow a 45-day disciplinary change by school personnel for weapons, drugs, controlled substance violations, or serious bodily injury.

    A hearing officer may order a change in the placement of a child with a disability to an appropriate IAES for not more than 45 school days if the hearing officer:

    1. Determines the District has demonstrated substantial evidence (i.e., beyond a preponderance of the evidence) that maintaining the current placement for the child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or others;
    2. Considers the appropriateness of the current placement;
    3. Considers whether the District has made reasonable efforts to minimize the risk of harm in the current placement, including the use of supplementary aids and services; and
    4. Determines that the IAES was developed in consultation with the special education teacher and meets the above-mentioned criteria for an IAES.

    All change of placement procedures including parent notice, BIP review or development, and manifestation determination must also be completed.
Placement During a Hearing

When an appeal for an expedited hearing has been made by either the parent or the LEA, the child must remain in the interim alternative educational setting pending the decision of the hearing officer or until the expiration of the time period specified for the IAES, whichever occurs first.

Expedited Hearing


The parent of a child with a disability who disagrees with any decision regarding an IAES placement or the manifestation determination, or an LEA that believes that maintaining the current placement (i.e., placement prior to removal to the interim alternative education setting) of the child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or others, may request an expedited due process hearing.

The LEA is responsible for arranging the expedited due process hearing, which must occur within 20 school days of the date the complaint requesting the hearing is filed. The hearing officer must make a determination within 10 school days after the hearing.In making a determination, the hearing officer may:
  1. Return the child with a disability to the placement from which the child was removed if the hearing officer determines that the removal was a violation of the LEAs authority or that the child’s behavior was a manifestation of the child’s disability; or
  2. Order a change of placement of the child with a disability to an appropriate IAES for not more than 45 school days if the hearing officer determines that maintaining the current placement of the child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others.
The procedures outlined above may be repeated as necessary.

Children Not Yet Eligible for Special Education and Related Services

A child who has not been determined eligible for special education and related services and who has engaged in behavior that violated any rule or code of conduct of the District may assert any of the protections of IDEA 2004 if the District had knowledge that the child had a disability before the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action occurred.
  1. Basis of Knowledge

    The District shall be deemed to have knowledge that an individual is a child with a disability if:
    1. The parent of the child has expressed concern, in writing, to supervisory or administrative personnel, or a teacher of the child, that the child is in need of special education and related services.
    2. The parent of the child has requested an evaluation of the child.
    3. The teacher of the child, or other District personnel, have expressed specific concerns about a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the child directly to the director of special education of the agency or to other supervisory personnel of the District.

    A district would be deemed not to have knowledge if:
    1. the District had conducted an evaluation and determined that the child was not a child with a disability, or
    2. the parent did not allow an evaluation or has refused services under Part B.

  2. No Basis of Knowledge

    If the District does not have knowledge that an individual is a child with a disability prior to taking disciplinary measures against the child, the child may be subjected to the same disciplinary measures applied to child without disabilities who engage in comparable behaviors.

  3. Parent Requests for Evaluations

    If a request is made for an evaluation of a child during the time period in which the child is subjected to disciplinary measures, the evaluation shall be conducted in an expedited manner. Pending the results of the evaluation, the child shall remain in the educational placement determined by district officials. If the child is determined to be a child with a disability, based on information from the evaluation conducted by the District and information provided by the parent, the District shall convene an IEP Team meeting to develop an IEP and conduct a manifestation determination (see Appendix J for further information on completing manifestation determinations).
Transfer of Discipline Records

When the District initiates disciplinary procedures applicable to all children, the special education and disciplinary records of children with disabilities must be transmitted for consideration by the person(s) making the final determination regarding the disciplinary action.If a child with a disability transfers to another school, each district shall transmit with other student records, including the child's current IEP, all statements of current and previous disciplinary action regarding the child, to the same extent that disciplinary information would be included in and transmitted with the records of a child without a disability. Statements of disciplinary action must include a description of the child's behavior that required the disciplinary action, the action taken, and any other information that is relevant to the safety of the child and other individuals involved with the child.

Referrals and Action by Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities

Nothing in IDEA 2004 shall be construed to prohibit the District from reporting a crime committed by a child with a disability to appropriate authorities. IDEA 2004 does not prevent state law enforcement or judicial authorities from exercising their responsibilities with regard to the application of federal and state law, to crimes committed by a child with a disability. If theDistrict reports a crime committed by a child with a disability, it must ensure that, to the extent permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), copies of the special education and disciplinary records of the child are transmitted for consideration by the appropriate authorities to whom it reports the crime. Absent parent consent, FERPA allows disclosure if pursuant to a subpoena or court order, in conjunction with an emergency, or pursuant to a state statute concerning the juvenile justice system.

Suspension and Expulsion Rates


Districts must maintain data on their rates of suspension and expulsions. Such data will be examined by the Department to determine if significant discrepancies are occurring in the rate of long-term suspensions and expulsions of children with disabilities compared to the rate for children without disabilities within the District. If such discrepancies are occurring, the District will review and revise its policies, procedures, and practices as needed in relation to the development and implementation of IEPs, the use of FBAs and BIPs, procedural safeguards, and overall compliance with IDEA 2004.The State must examine data for suspension and expulsion disaggregated by race, ethnicity and disability.

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