The Manifestation Determination
Daniel a 10th grade student with disabilities. He was given a long term suspension for the remainder of the semester and an Emergency Exclusion for Safety when he assaulted another student during an argument in his math classroom. Daniel's Administrator invoked the standard disciplinary consequences understanding that his IEP team would provide an additional level of determination to Daniel's disciplinary outcome by conducting a Manifestation Determination meeting within the specified legal timeframe of ten days.
- The Manifestation Determination meeting must be conducted immediately or within 10 days after the imposed disciplinary sanctions of a long term suspension that may result in Daniel being transferred to a different school placement.
- For Daniel, his IEP team will consist of the case manager of his IEP, District Special Education Coordinator, regular education teacher if Daniel is in mainstream classes, parent(s), Administrator who imposed discipline, Counselor, Psychologist and any other designated personnel who could provide substantive feedback on Daniels' disability and behavior.
- The team must determine by the facts of the disciplinary infraction and the IEP behavioral testing results whether there is a relationship between Daniel's disability and his assaultive behavior as defined in the NDA (Notice of Disciplinary Action).
- By evaluating Daniel's academic and behavioral testing results, along with parent feedback, classroom observations and his IEP placement, the IEP team will be able to make an informed decision on whether Daniel's behavior is/is not a manifestation of his disability.
- The criteria for the manifestation determination is specific and must be included and considered in the teams final determination. Daniel's behavior is not a manifestation of his disability if his IEP diagnosis and placement were appropriate with additional inclusions of a BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan) and FBA (Functional Behavioral Analysis) and he was provided with consistent resource services to address behavioral issues/concerns as defined in his IEP.
- If Daniel has a known impulsive behavior of engaging in inappropriate physical contact with other students when escalated and that feedback has been documented in a BIP and FBA along with intervention strategies, the final outcome could be that there is a documented relationship between Daniel's behavior and his disability.
When the IEP team presents the manifestation determination to Daniel's Administrator for evaluation of the final dispensation of his original disciplinary consequences, the outcome will be either one of the following:
1. Manifestation Determination team has concluded that the behavior is a result of Daniel's disability.
- Administrator must reevaluate the NDA and include a revised NDA indicative of the determination. Considering the severity of the assault charge and the information provided by the team, the NDA can be reduced to a lesser charge with lesser disciplinary consequences to be served by the student.
2. Manifestation Determination team has concluded that the behavior is not a result of Daniel's disability.
- Administrator will indicate on the original NDA that the disciplinary consequences will remain as noted. The case manager and District Coordinator must determine an alternate placement for Daniel for 45 days in a different school community. The District Safety and Security must evaluate the Emergency Expulsion for the safety component indicated in the NDA and present its findings to the Administrator for inclusion in the final NDA.
The Manifestation Determination is an important component of a student with disabilities' IEP and disciplinary evaluation in a school community. It can be electronically generated and partially completed as part of the IEP inclusion before the Manifestation Determination meeting. If the meeting does not take place within the legal guidelines of 10 days, the NDA results may be rescinded or severely altered to indicate the non-compliance.
The bottom line for Daniel is that he must be provided with appropriate disciplinary sanctions and resources (i.e. anger management, coping mechanisms during confrontations modeling etc.) to address his issues of inappropriate physical contact with peers during confrontations or arguments. The Manifestation Determination is an additional tool to provide educational equity in dealing with students with disabilities and discipline issues.
For more information on the Manifestation Determination Process visit http://www.opistate.mt.us/PDF/SpecED/FAQ/ManDet.pdf .