Dealing with Discipline

Defined Overview, and Regulations

  • In 1975 Federal Special Education law was passed, congress found that most handicapped children were not receiving an appropriate education.
  • Today schools continue to suspend and expel students with disabilities for behavior caused by their disabilities.
  • Students in special education have been known to get in trouble due to there disability.
  • They can't always help what the actions they show, so they should not be disciplined by all of the actions they portray.
  • As an administrator you have to make sure you are aware of the child's special education plan so that they can discipline effectively.
  • Knowing students IEP and all that goes into is extremely important so that you can correctly discipline them the way that is needed.

Change of placement for disciplinary reasons.

What constitutes a change of placement?

  • Any behavioral issues that disrupt the education of themselves or others, could result a change of placement.
  • The law requires placement decision to be made by a team usually the team that developed the child's IEP.
  • Parents are part of the placement of their child and have big say of where they go.
  • They get placed where there unique needs are met and are getting FAPE to the fullest extent.

Does a suspension of less than ten school days constitute a change of placement?

  • A suspension of less than ten days does not constitute a change of placement.
  • If it is eleven days it does constitute a change of placement. If they are suspended for ten days and then later they are suspended again it does constitute as a change of placement.
  • It is recommended that schools should take a conservative approach toward suspending students for more than ten days. Parents and school staff should monitor these students who often get suspended.

Use of suspension/expulsion with student who are identified as having a disability under IDEA.

  • Expulsion is a lengthy removal from educational opportunity. Lengthy removal is not permitted for students with disabilities.
  • You can't remove a special educations student for more than ten days, it violates the student's right to FAPE.
  • IDEA does not use the word expulsion they say a change in placement of a child with disabilities.

Change of placement due to expulsion

  • No student with a disability can be expelled for behavior this is a manifestation of their disability.
  • To be able to expel a student the IEP team must hold a manifestation determination review meeting. The meetings must happen within ten days of any decision to expel or change the placement of the student.
  • It is very common to suspend a student for ten days in order to gather all the members of the IEP Team together to discuss the students situation including parents in these meetings.

Disciplinary methods and zero tolerance rules

  • Zero tolerance policies developed in the 1990's in response to school shootings and general fears about crime.
  • In 1994 the federal government passed the gun free school act, required schools to expel any student who brings a gun to campus.
  • Some rules include

-Bringing any weapon to school, including seemingly innocent items such as nail clippers and toy swords.

- Having an alcohol or tobacco and over the counter medication.

-Fighting including minor scuffles

-Threatening other students or teachers, or saying anything that could perceived be as threatening.

-Talking back to teachers, and any behavior that is considered disruptive.

Family roles in dealing with Discipline

  • It is very important for parents and families to take discipline seriously.
  • If the family does not get behind the discipline it is hard for it to be corrected because the student is hearing two different things. They are more likely to follow what the parents are telling them.
  • The parents also need to make sure that they are aware of the things that can and can't be done with the child that is in the special education program.
  • As parents you need to make sure your child knows there are consequences for there actions. They need get together with the school to make these things effective.
  • Student's need to have a clear view of discipline so that they understand what they did wrong and what they can do to fix it. Parents have a huge role in that as well does the school.

Functional assessment of behavior

  • Functional behavioral assessment is a process that identifies specific target behavior, the purpose of the behavior, and what factors maintain the behaviors that is interfering with the students educational progress.
  • This process involves looking very closely at a wide range of factors of the student such as social, environmental, and educational.
  • It is extremely important that the IEP team know why the student is misbehaving, it will help the team develop a better behavioral intervention plan to reduce said behavior.
  • FBA describes a student's disruptive behaviors and looks for the reasoning behind the behavior and offers different interventions that help with the undesired behavior.
  • Students with disabilities have their FBA become part of their IEP.

Pitfalls to Avoid & Troubleshooting, handling complaints.

Proactive Steps to avoid Pitfalls

  • Learn from yours and others mistakes.
  • Learn from things that others and yourself have done wrong.
  • Don't be afraid to realize you are wrong and fix it.

Do your research

  • Make sure you know exactly what needs to be done.
  • Make sure you have found and have an answer to most things that may be asked.

Have A plan

  • Have a list of everything that needs to be done.
  • Make a checklist of things you have and haven't done yet.


  • Talk with others to make sure everything is getting worked out correctly.
  • If you need help or are confused on something talk to others that have experience.

Steps to avoid noncompliance

  • Create a calendar
  • Make sure you write all the planned meetings, conferences you know you have.
  • Any parent meetings keep it on there.

Document everything

Make sure you write everything down in case some non compliance arises you have it.

Helps avoid disagreements when it is written down.

Keep up with the changes

  • If something comes up and you must change plans do so.
  • Make sure you are flexible.


  • If you trust the parents and the people you work with it helps avoid problems
  • Make them trust you so they don't question your judgment.




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