The parents of children with behavioral issues know that school often presents a number of different challenges. If your child has gotten in trouble because he or she violated the school code of conduct, the unfortunate reality of expulsion may present itself. That being said, when a child’s behavior can be correlated to his or her disability, it is important to ensure federal laws are not being broken by the school. Under federal law, a child may not be punished for any sort of behavior that is substantially related to his or her disability.
When a child with special needs is facing disciplinary actions at school as a result of his or her behavior, the school may administer a test called Manifestation Determination. The Manifestation Determination test is typically administered by an Individualized Education Program team when a child with special needs is facing suspension, expulsion, or an alternative placement at school. The test exists to assess whether the behavior that the child is facing discipline regarding is related to his or her ability.
The Manifestation Determination Process
When a Manifestation Determination test is necessary, the school district will hold a meeting between the Local Education Agency, the IEP team, and the child’s parent or guardian to examine all information about the incident in question and the child’s disability. This must take place within 10 school days of the school’s decision to take action against the child’s behavior. It is often beneficial for parents to bring an experienced education attorney to this meeting who can effectively advocate on behalf of the child and ensure that the school district does not violate any state or federal laws.
The two factors that must be assessed during the process of Manifestation Determination include whether the conduct was related to the child’s disability and whether the conduct was the result of not properly implementing the child’s Individualized Education Program. If it is determined that both factors are applicable to the child’s situation, the school will not be permitted to expel or suspend the child and must instead adjust the child’s IEP to better serve them in the future. On the other hand, if it is determined that the conduct does not correlate with the child’s disability, the school is free to discipline as planned.
If you need an experienced education attorney to fight on behalf of your child, contact our firm today.
Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.