Define and Apply the Regulations as it Pertains to Discipline
Discipline Procedures (per IDEA)
Authority of school personnel.
Case-by-case determination: If a school needs to determine if a change of placement is necessary (perhaps there has been a violation of the code of conduct), they may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
General: Schools may remove a student with a disability who has violated the code of conduct from their current placement to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension for not more than 10 days.
After a child with a disability has been removed from his or her current placement for 10 school days in the same school year, the school must provide services to the extent required (by the law).
Additional Authority: If disciplinary changes in placement will exceed 10 consecutive school days (and the behavior is not a manifestation of the child's disability), schools may apply the relevant disciplinary actions to the student with a disability as they would a student without a disability.
Services: A student with a disability who is removed from their current placement must continue to receive educational services (as well as participate in the general education setting-from another setting of course) and continue to make progress toward's their IEP goals. They must also receive (as appropriate) a functional behavioral assessment and behavioral intervention services and modifications (these are designed to address the behavior to prevent it from happening again). These services may be provided in an interim alternative educational setting (if necessary).
Manifestation Determination: Within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a student with a disability (because of a violation of the code of conduct), the school, the parent, and any members of the IEP team, must review the student's file, their IEP, any teacher observations, and any relevant information provided by the parent's, to determine if the violation was a direct result of the student's disability or the direct result of the school's failure to implement the IEP.
Determination that behavior was a manifestation: If the school, the parents, and members of the IEP team determine that the violation was a manifestation of the child's disability, the IEP team must conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan. If a behavioral plan has been developed, they must review the plan and modify it as necessary. Also, they must return the student to the placement where the student was removed from (unless a change of placement was agreed upon by the school and the parents and it is part of the modification of the behavioral intervention plan).
Special Circumstances: Schools may remove a student to an interim alternative educational setting, for no more than 45 school days, and they do not have to determine if the behavior was a manifestation of the student's disability IF the student carries a weapon, at school, on school premises, or at school functions. Same rules apply if the student knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance or of they inflict serious bodily injury upon another person (while at school, on school premises or at school functions).
Notification: When the decision is made (on the date) to change the placement of a student (because of a violation of a code of conduct), the school must notify the parents of that decision and provide the procedural safeguards notice.
**PLEASE REMEMBER** We are dealing with the law and procedural safeguards so there needs to be specifics and detailed/clearly defined terms (as per IDEA).
Determination of setting
The child’s IEP Team determines the interim alternative educational setting for services. The parents may not agree.
General: The parent of a child with a disability (or the school) who disagrees with any decision regarding placement or the manifestation determination, may request a hearing. The school may feel that if the student remains in their current placement, they may injure themselves or others. In order to request a hearing, you must first file a complaint.
Authority of the hearing officer: A hearing officer hears, and makes a determination regarding an appeal. The hearing officer may return the student to the placement from which they were removed (if they believe that removal was a violation of the student's rights or that the student's behavior was a manifestation of their disability). They may order a change of placement to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for no more than 45 days (if it is determined that the current placement could result in injury to the student or others).
Placement during appeals
When an appeal has been made, by the parent or the school, the student must remain in the interim alternative educational setting pending the hearing officer's decision or until the expiration of the time period that was specified, whichever one comes first. Or the parent and the school can agree otherwise.
Determination of Appropriate Setting per LRE
Least restrictive environment (LRE) is a vital component in the child's IEP. It plays a critical role in influencing where the child will spend their time at school, how services are provided, and the relationship the child will develop with the school and the community.
The IEP team must determine the interim alternative educational setting for removing a student from their current placement. Students with disabilities are guaranteed a FAPE in their LRE. Due to behavior problems, their least restrictive environment may become more restrictive. Especially in cases, as mentioned earlier, where the student may cause injury to him/herself or others.
Determination of Appropriate Setting per FAPE
"Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is an educational right of children with disabilities in the United States that is guaranteed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)."
Under the IDEA, FAPE is defined as an educational program that is designed to meet the unique needs of the child. It is individualized specifically for the child.
To provide FAPE to a child with a disability, schools must provide students with an education, including specialized instruction and related services, that prepares the child for further education, employment, and independent living.
When dealing with discipline with students with disabilities, educators must take special care that we are not denying them their right to a FAPE. There are regulations that the school must adhere to. The school also must keep the school environment safe for all student.
Functional Assessment of Behavior
"A Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is a process that identifies specific target behavior, the purpose of the behavior, and what factors maintain the behavior that is interfering with the student's educational progress."
The process involves looking closely at a wide range of factors of the student (social, educational, environmental). It is important that the IEP team know why the student is misbehaving. This knowledge will help the IEP team develop a behavioral intervention plan that will reduce or eliminate the behavior.
If the behavior is a direct result of their disability, a functional behavioral assessment can be conducted immediately. In addition to conducting the FBA, the IEP team must also write a behavioral intervention plan (BIP). If there is already a plan in place, the team will need to review and modify it to address the behavior.
Functional behavioral assessment (FBA) is a part of the positive behavioral support (PBS) mandated by IDEA. Good classroom management and structured classroom discipline stop most disruptive behavior, but some students will continue to be disruptive. These students need more help so that they can stay in class and be successful.
FBA is a process which describes a student’s disruptive behaviors, looks for the reasons behind the behaviors and offers interventions that teach new behaviors to replace the undesired ones. Not all disruptions require an FBA, which is usually reserved for behaviors that interfere with learning however, FBAs are available to all students. For students with disabilities, an FBA may be part of an IEP.
The FBA process starts with the FBA team (not defined in IDEA, but typically consists of the student’s teachers, and other professionals who have directly observed the child, as well as, the parents). The team uses both direct and indirect means to assess the behavior.
Direct assessment documents the frequency of disruptive behaviors and the time of day (the idea is to determine if there is a behavior pattern). They are also looking for behavior that precedes the behavior (this behavior could be a trigger that teachers and other school personnel need to be on the look out for).
Indirect assessment involves interviewing teachers, parents and other adults who have contact with the student, asking questions about the behavior and when and where it occurs. These questions can help the FBA team determine if the issue at hand is due to a performance shortfall (the student won’t do what is asked of him or her) or a skills shortfall (the student cannot do what is asked of him or her).
In some cases, it can also be beneficial to interview the student in an informal manner. More than likely the team will collect both types of data in order to get a clear picture of the child’s behavioral pattern.
In my research it was suggested that, "all behaviors serve some function". This really resonated with me. To me this means, I need to know my students and really try to understand them and have compassion for them. Maybe their negative behavior is just a way they are covering up the fact that they do not understand something we are learning.
Maybe they can't read very well or they don't understand how to divide. When I put myself in a student's shoes and wonder what it would feel like to not be able to read very well (especially if I HAVE to read out loud in front of the entire class) or how it feels to not understand how to divide, I feel frustration. When I take this thought further, and imagine me as a young student, I may not even realize my frustration is coming from my not understanding something. Therefore, I would not ask for help because I would not know that there was a problem. Hence the importance of me as a teacher to work with my students and try to understand what is the behavior behind the behavior. Do I really notice the negative behavior right before it is time to take turns reading paragraphs out loud as a class?
When all the data is gathered, it will be taken to the FBA meeting. The FBA team will discuss the data that was collected. They can form a hypothesis and then test that hypothesis (this will allow them to see how the student responds). From here, a simple "intervention" can take place. If the hypothesis is that the student is frustrated, suggest that the student signal the teacher when they begin to feel frustrated. IF this does not remedy the situation, the team may create a behavior intervention plan (BIP).
Behavior Intervention Plans
In addition to, or as part of, the review (and regardless of whether the behavior is found to be a manifestation of the child's disability or not), the school must conduct a "functional behavioral assessment and develop or modify a behavioral intervention plan as necessary to address the behavior for which the student is being disciplined". (§ 1415(k)(1)(D))
The behavior intervention plan (BIP) targets one to three of a student’s negative behaviors with interventions that are "linked to the functions of the behavior". Each intervention specifically addresses a behavior. The targeted behavior must be clearly specified and measurable.
A BIP can include prevention strategies (which stop the behavior before it begins), as well as replacement behaviors, which achieve the same function as the disruptive behavior without causing disruption. The student's environment is considered, and the FBA/BIP team may determine that a change in a student’s environment or schedule may be necessary. In addition, the BIP provides a plan for responding to the old behavior that is being replaced and promoting the new behavior.
For students without disabilities, the BIP can be adjusted as the student improves without another meeting however, frequent monitoring is still required.
For students with disabilities, the BIP is a legal document that is a part of their IEP. It must be followed inside and outside of the classroom. It cannot be adjusted without calling an IEP meeting to review and adjust/modify as needed.
The BIP is reviewed each year by the IEP team and it can be changed at anytime. The disruptive behavior may lead to the student being removed from the classroom. If this is the case, a meeting will have to take place to decide if the behavior is a manifestation of the student's disability and then a change of placement can be discussed. There may be a need for a change in the BIP.
Main Components of a Discipline Plan
Here are the main components of a discipline plan:
A statement of purpose: A positive and brief statement that informs the school (and educational professionals), the parents, and the student the reasons why the aspects of the plan are necessary.
The statement of purpose must be focused (pinpoints student expectations), direct (brief-three sentences or fewer, positively states expectations), clearly understood (avoids vague language), free of words/terms only teachers/educational professionals would understand, and use language parents can understand.
Rules: Clearly and specifically state how the teacher expects students to behave in the classroom. Rules can be a way for students to monitor their own behavior. They also serve as reminders to students to show the expected behavior. It is suggested that teachers limit the classroom rules to five or less.
Guidelines for rules: state them positively, use simple and specific words, make them measurable and observable, and ensure that they convey the expected behavior (don't leave room for the student to assume the appropriate behavior).
Procedures: This is a description of the steps the student will need to take in order to be successful. There are certain situations that students may tend to act inappropriately (during transitions, walking in the hall, "free" time).
It is important for teachers to recognize these situations and consider why the procedure is needed (specific to an activity), where the procedure is needed (may be location specific such as the hallway), what the procedure entails, who will use the procedure, when the procedure is needed (some may be time specific), how the procedure should be implemented (make it clear so students can easily follow the steps)
Consequences: These include the actions a teacher takes for appropriate and inappropriate student behavior. Consequences work best when they are clear and specific, relate directly to the rules and procedures, and are natural and logical in the school environment.
Positive consequences can increase adherence to the rules and procedures. Negative consequences can decrease rule breaking and disruptive behavior.
Ultimately, we want students to learn how to regulate their own behavior. However, it might be a good idea to help the positive behavior occur more often by using a reinforcement. These positive consequences are inexpensive, appropriate to the classroom environment, and easily administered. Some examples are: stickers, school supplies, praise, smile, getting to choose their own partner, and extra computer time.
There may be negative consequences in the classroom too. These should be: something the student considers unpleasant (the loss of a privilege), applied in an educative way (not vindictive-teachers should not take it personally and respond emotionally), administered calmly and consistently, applied immediately after the behavior, and considerate of the student's dignity.
An action plan: A way to support implementation of the behavior management plan.
**MY THOUGHTS** Managing behavior is an area of teaching that I could see being a challenge for me. I don't like to discipline kids and I take things personally. This was a valuable section for me to do in this assignment.
I found these suggestions especially helpful (when I may need to administer negative consequences): apply them consistently (consistency is key in so many areas of educating children), use the power of proximity (just standing next to a student who is acting out can remedy the behavior), make direct eye contact, use a soft voice, be firm and anger free, and never accept excuses, bargaining, or whining.
Positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) is a way for schools to encourage good behavior. When schools use PBIS, kids learn about behavior, just like they learn other subjects (like math or science). The key to PBIS is prevention, not punishment.
Using PBIS can improve school safety and promote positive behavior. It can also be used as a way for schools to respond to negative behavior.
What I enjoyed best about learning about PBIS, is the principles. These include: every child can learn appropriate behavior, detecting behavior issues early can prevent more serious behavior problems, each child is unique therefore schools need to provide many kinds of behavior support, how schools teach behavior "should be based on research and science", following a child's behavioral progress is important (and valuable), and gathering data can help make decisions about behavior problems.
PBIS is not a treatment or a therapy. It is a "framework" for teachers, administrators, and parents. It is used with all student (students who receive special education services and those who do not).
According to several studies, "PBIS leads to better student behavior. In schools that use PBIS, students receive fewer detentions and suspensions. There is less bullying. Students also have better grades".
How PBIS Works
In a school with a "traditional" approach to discipline, teachers try to correct behavior through punishment. A school using PBIS focuses on preventing the problem. When schools use PBIS, students learn about what behavior is appropriate in what setting and staff regularly praise the kids for good behavior.
When teachers use PBIS in their classrooms, they look for minor issues to prevent them from becoming bigger problems. Maybe the student is just craving attention. The school can create a strategy to recognize the minor behavior that could potentially lead to the bigger issue (in hopes of preventing the behavior from happening again).
The school follows the student's progress and the strategy may need to change if something is not working. In PBIS, discipline is used however, punishment is not the focus.
Studies have shown (also) that PBIS can improve student discipline, behavior, and even grades. It is for all students in the school (not just those receiving special education services).
PBIS and the Law
PBIS, referred to as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports in IDEA, is the only approach to addressing behavior that is specifically mentioned in the law.
PBIS holds a unique place in special education law (since the IDEA was amended in 1997). The emphasis is on using functional assessment and positive approaches to encourage good behavior.
Congress encourages the use of PBIS. Why? Because in the past, individuals with disabilities were excluded based on unaddressed behavior. It is also encouraged because there is strong evidence that supports the use of PBIS. Congress recognized the need for schools to use evidence-based approaches to proactively address the behavioral needs of students with disabilities. Congress recognized the potential of PBIS to prevent exclusion and improve educational results.
"Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that", the education of children with disabilities can be more effective by "providing incentives for whole-school approaches, scientifically based early reading programs, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and early intervening services to reduce the need to label children as disabled in order to address learning and behavioral needs".
"Congress was careful to balance the need to promote the education of children with disabilities and the right of states to govern their own educational systems." IDEA's requirements regarding the use of functional assessments and PBIS reflect this balance.
IDEA requires: The IEP team to consider using PBIS for any student whose behavior affects their learning or the learning of others. There may be some instances where the law (IDEA) requires the IEP team to consider PBIS.
Congress also recognized that, in order to encourage implementation of PBIS, there will need to be funds allocated to the training of using PBIS. IDEA provides additional support for the use of PBIS in it's provisions, "provide training in methods of . . . positive behavioral interventions and supports to improve student behavior in the classroom" (20 U.S.C. §1454(a)(3)(B)(iii)(I)).
Congress also provided for competitive grant funds that can be used to:
"Ensure that pre-service and in-service training, to general as well as special educators, include positive behavior interventions and supports (20 U.S.C. §1464 (a)(6)(D) & (f)(2)(A)(iv)(I)).
Develop and disseminate PBIS models for addressing conduct that impedes learning (20 U.S.C. §1464(b)(2)(H)).
Provide training and joint training to the entire spectrum of school personnel in the use of whole school positive behavioral interventions and supports (20 U.S.C. §1483(1)(C & D))."
**PLEASE NOTE** Developing professionals is key to implementing PBIS properly.
Types of Discipline used for Students with and without Disabilities
Schools have the authority to discipline all students (including students with disabilities). Students with disabilities have legal protections. It is important for me, as a future teacher, to know what those are. Schools must help students, whose behavior is caused by their disability, by following certain guidelines and regulations (as per IDEA).
All students must follow the school rules. Schools are required (by state and federal laws), to maintain a safe learning environment for students. Every school has a code of conduct with rules of behavior.
The code of conduct may include rules such as no obscene language and no smoking. The code should clearly state the rules and the consequences for breaking them. School disciplinary action can range from minor to serious.
Some examples of school discipline could be: contacting the parent, having a conference (the child meets with the principal or the teacher and their parent may or may not be there), counseling (by a professional), detention, suspension, and expulsion.
There are basic rights that all students (and their parents) have when it comes to discipline. These are: to know the rules and consequences beforehand, to challenge accusations (either informally-speaking to the principal or formally-through a hearing), and rules can't violate a child's constitutional rights (no discrimination).
Students with disabilities have the above mentioned rights as well as these protections (per IDEA): notification and an IEP meeting if a change of placement needs to happen, to understand if the behavior is a manifestation of their disability (this would entail a manifestation determination review).
If a student with a disability is removed from school, there is a "10 Day Rule". This means that for the first 10 days, they may not be receiving special education services. The 11th day makes this a change of placement case and the child will be provided the services they require (as per IDEA) wherever they are. Ten days or less, they are treated like a student without a disability.
If there is a change in placement, increased protections are provided (as per IDEA). Protections such as: parents being immediately notified of the change and their legal rights and protections (procedural safeguards) and a manifestation determination review must be conducted.
There is a zero tolerance for illegal drugs, controlled substances, weapons, and serious bodily harm. Expulsion can occur for students without disabilities. For students with disabilities, a change of placement will most likely be necessary, a manifestation determination will need to happen, and the IEP will have to change (if these apply, the student can be kept out of school for 45 days). A student with a disability will receive their special education services whether the actions are a result of their disability or not.
So far, in my other classes in college, I have learned a little bit about classroom management. I am appreciative of this assignment so I can learn some more about it.
It has been suggested that, as a teacher, at the beginning of the school year, my class and myself can set down (together) some classroom "rules". This will encourage students to participate in their classroom environment and to take responsibility for their actions (positive and negative).
Of course, it is also my responsibility to go over the code of conduct with my students. One of the challenges for me, will be to not take their behavior personally. I must remember that these children are learning how to behave. They do not necessarily know any better and it is my job to help them learn. Patience and tolerance will be very important!
In my experience, through my practicum class, I experienced some out of control behavior. I relied on a more experienced future teacher to show me how to handle these situations. I learned a lot from her. One thing that scares me is, I can read all about disciplining students and understand it on a certain level. When I am the teacher, and must rely on the concepts I have learned in my education, that will be a different story.