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A Scenario to Explain Discipline of Special Education Students

written by: Barbara • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 1/4/2012

Discipline procedures for special education students include additional protocols that must be legally followed in school communities. In the given scenario, Jocelyn's journey is profiled when she assaults a fellow classmate in a math class.

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    Discipline for Natalie and Jocelyn

    This is a case scenario of an incident that occurred in a middle school between two 7th grade students (one a regular education student and the other a mainstreamed EBD (Emotionally/Behaviorally Disabled) 7th grade student in a math class.


    Natalie and Jocelyn were involved in a fight during a math class. Jocelyn started the fight by hitting Natalie repeatedly upside her head causing a big lump to form, because Natalie looked at her funny. Natalie had an opportunity to walk away, but decided to engage and knocked Jocelyn to the floor and proceeded to hit her repeatedly in response. The teacher tried to separate the two girls unsuccessfully. Security was called to intervene and break up the fight which totally disrupted the learning experience for the other 25 students eager to learn about computational problem solving. Both students were taken to the 7th grade Administrator for disciplinary action.

    For Natalie, the regular education 7th grade student, the discipline was straight off the district rubric of disciplinary actions: Fighting-3 day suspension with a Re-entry meeting and parent conference. The parents appealed the suspension to the Principal due to extenuating circumstances. After reviewing the NDA (Notice of Disciplinary Action) and meeting with the 7th grade Administrator, parents and student, the Principal rescinded the disciplinary action after a Doctor’s medical report determined that Natalie’s head injury provoked her irrational behavior to retaliate.

    For Jocelyn, the 7th grade EDB special education student, the discipline followed the district rubric and the IEP (Individual Education Program) expectations: Assault-Long term suspension. Emergency Exclusion for Safety reasons.

    The police and EMT (Emergency Medical Technicians) were called due to the Natalie’s head injury. Natalie’s parents declined to press charges and her head injury didn’t require hospitalization. Jocelyn was put on a long-term suspension for the remainder of the school year.

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    Discipline Checklist for Students With IEPs

    Jocelyn's disciplinary consequences are outlined through her Case Manager, Manifestation Determination meeting and FAPE. Jocelyn's final educational placement will be at the cost of the school and the district. Discipline is progressive with the inclusion of future educational resources.

    Jocelyn’s disciplinary actions are explored through the first contact with the special education case manager, the IEP (Individualized Education Program) manifestation determination, and the FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). As a result of the assault situation, Jocelyn’s future education placement will be determined by a series of legally required protocols identified by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and her IEP.

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    Special Education Department Case Manager Contact

    • Jocelyn has been long-term suspended and Emergency Excluded for Safety Reasons.
    • Long-term suspension (>10 days)
    • Emergency Exclusion or expulsion
    • Manifestation determination
    • Change of Placement– long term suspension
    • Police intervention and District Security called due to Emergency Exclusion report

    Since Jocelyn has been long-term suspended for the rest of the school year (54 days) and Emergency excluded for safety reasons (assault on a fellow student), a change of placement could occur if a manifestation determination shows that her actions were not a result of her IEP inclusions. The police and district security intervention created an additional level of disciplinary action for Jocelyn.

    The Emergency Exclusion form allows the District to investigate the incident to determine safety interventions. District security will work with Jocelyn and her parents to determine if her actions constitute an ongoing safety issue in the school community. The FAPE will include information on future education provisions at the district and schools’ expense.

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    Manifestation Determination Expectations

    • Jocelyn’s case manager will coordinate a manifestation determination meeting.
    • Needed for students emergency excluded, expelled or on long-term suspension.
    • Students who are excluded from school communities for 10 or more consecutive days due to disciplinary actions.
    • Meetings must contain a review of a student’s FBA (Functional Behavior Analysis) and BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan).
    • Determination if student’s behavior is/is not a behavioral result identified in the IEP evaluation of FBA and BIP.
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    FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) Provisions

    • Jocelyn’s placement protocol according to FAPE must begin on the 11th day of the final disciplinary consequence for a long-term suspension or school expulsion.
    • Interim placement in an alternative placement identified by the school district for 45 days.
    • Home tutorial support if student Emergency Exclusion determination states that the student is not safe in a regular school learning environment. District and school must pay for this placement for the remainder of the school year.
    • Compensatory education from an accredited school or online program. The school must pay for this educational resource.