All schools must have rules to regulate student behavior. Teachers and administrators are not at liberty to expel or suspend students in the special education program due to procedures and safeguards outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). There are significant restrictions existing against certain types of discipline of students with disabilities that result in a unilateral change in placement. But, how should children with disabilities be disciplined when they pose a threat to school staff and to other students?
In extreme cases of disciplinary action, an Interim Alternate Educational Setting (IAES) is a suggested method under IDEA 1997. An IAES would meet the obligation of providing FAPE during a 45 day removal. An IAES may be used in the following situations if a student is removed for 10 days or less, for 45 days suspension for carrying a weapon or possessing or selling illegal drugs or through a safety-dangerous process. In the safety-dangerousness process a school district may seek a hearing officer decision to place a student with disabilities in an IAES for up to 45 days when the student’s current placement is likely to result in the injury of the student or in injury to others, Hartwig & Reusch (2000).
Court Cases and the Law
1) the case of Kaelin v. Grubbs (1982) on March 13, 1979, Michael defied the authority of his teacher, William C. Daniel (the teacher). Michael refused to complete assigned classroom work. He also destroyed a work sheet and one of teacher’s coffee cups. Moreover, in attempting to leave the classroom, Michael kicked, pushed and hit the teacher. Michael was suspended from school the very next day. On April 17, 1979, the Walton-Verona Board of Education (“Board”) held a hearing concerning Michael’s behavior. The Board did not convene or consult the AARC before or during this hearing. Moreover, the Board did not address the relationship, if any, between Michael’s handicap and his disruptive behavior. Consequently, the Board expelled Michael from school for the remainder of the 1978-79 school year; effective April 30, 1979. The court concluded that the ‘use of expulsion proceedings’ as a means of changing the placement of a disruptive handicapped child violates the procedures of the Handicapped Children Act.
a) The Georgia law that applies to this case is 20-2-751.6 which states the disciplinary policy for students committing acts of physical violence against a teacher, school bus driver or other school official or employee.
b) P. L. 94-142
c) Statute: TITLE I / B / 615 / k / 1 (iii) has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of a State or local educational agency
d) The article Opportunities Suspended: The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion from School describes the lost ‘seat time’ of approximately 3 million students in the 2009-2010 school year due to suspensions.
2) Honing v Doe (1988) stated the stay-put provision prevents schools from unilaterally moving students from placement to placement as decided by the U. S. Supreme Court. The Court also ruled that typical disciplinary procedures for establishing school discipline such as restriction of privileges, detention, and removal of students to study carrels may be used with students with disabilities.
a) Georgia law 160-4-7-10(5)(a) applies in that ‘school personnel may remove a child to an interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 school without regard to whether the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the child’s disability.’
b) Mergler, M. S., Vargas, K. M. & Caldwell, C. (2014) article notes that positive behavior supports seek to minimize the need for exclusionary procedures.
3) Stuart v Nappi (1981) court case addressed the issue that students with disabilities are neither immune from a school’s disciplinary process nor are they entitled to participate in programs when their behavior impairs the education of other children. School authorities can take swift disciplinary measures against disruptive students with disabilities. In brief, the school wanted to expel Stuart due to her behavioral and academic problems. Stuart’s parents brought suit against school officials and the Danbury Board of Education seeking an injunction of an expulsion hearing. Stuart alleged that she was being denied guaranteed rights for FAPE as guaranteed under IDEA. The court ultimately decided that expulsion was a change in placement inconsistent with IDEA’s procedural guidelines.
a) Georgia law 160-4-7-10(5)(b). applies in that ‘the interim alternative educational setting is determined by the IEP team.’ The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
b) Hartwig & Reusch (2000) noted in their article, Disciplining Students in Special Education, for a long-term removal in an IAES the student’s IEP team must determine the setting and services that will be offered.
4) In the case of S-1 v Turlington (1981) the 5th Circuit Court The trial court found that the EHA, effective in Florida on September 1, 1978, provided all handicapped children the right to a free and appropriate public education. The court further found that the expelled students were denied this right in violation of the EHA. In addition, the trial court decided that under section 504 and the EHA, no handicapped student could be expelled for misconduct related to their disability, unless it was determined that the student’s misconduct was not a manifestation of the disability.
a) Georgia law 160-4-7-10(5)(a). applies to this case as well.
b) Regulations: Part 300 / E / 300.530 / e (i) If the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child’s disability;
c) The article Positive Discipline discusses how students with disabilities are likely to be suspended more than once and the type of disability frequently identified was emotional and behavioral disorder.
d) Research shows that when education is disrupted by long absences, such as expulsion, the likelihood of dropping out increases dramatically and children with special needs are more likely to drop out Dwyer (1997), Disciplining Students with Disabilities.
Connection to the P-12 Schools