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Special Education/suspension-iep in place

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Question
my son is 13 and in 7th grade. he has been suspended a total of 11 days not in a row this school year. i have not once had to sign a paper or seen a paper for these suspensions, school has only 1 suspension on file. recently my son was suspended for actions on school bus, not for actions at school. the transportation dept. has suspended him from bus use in the past, why is the school doing it when it happened before school was in session. my son has adhd/odd combine. he takes meds everyday. his number one issue is his filters. whatever goes through his mind comes out his mouth, work in progress. he also gets angry very easy, also work in progress. what are my rights as a parent? i am single working. i feel like the school is doing him an injustice as he likes to get suspended so he can stay home all day.

Answer
Hi Karen ,

A child with a disability can be removed from school for suspension up to 10 days in a school year and receive the same treatment as his non disabled peers. But after 10 days, more removals are said to be a change in placement, since so much instructional time has been missed. The school is required to meet for a type of IEP meeting called a manifestation determination meeting. The team and you as the parent answers 2 questions, and analyzes whether the child's functional behavior assessment and behavior intervention plan should be revised. The BIP becomes part of the IEP.

The 2 manifestation determination questions are:
Does the behavior leading to suspension from school and bus have a direct and substantial relationship to the disability?
Is the behavior a result of the school's failure to implement the child's IEP?

If your child is seeing a private therapist or doctor, he/she should help the the team answer these questions. If either of these are answered 'yes', the child returns to school without further removal, and the team has to come up with different positive behavior supports and interventions that will prevent further removals. If the school has failed to implement the IEP, your child may be entitled to compensatory services, to compensate for all the missed instruction.

As you and the team conduct a functional behavior assessment, the issue of how the being at home reinforces his behavior, his lack of inhibition, his impulsivity, and all other factors contributing to why the behavior is occurring must be addressed. Alternate transportation, staff training, counseling, parent training, and other services should be explored. It's not uncommon for the team to consider different school placements as well. The IEP should be revised and the team should document how your son is responding to whatever interventions are put into place.

Since you already believe your child has been denied a free appropriate public education, I'm thinking you should consult with a special education attorney. You can find one at COPAA.org.

My book, School Success for Kids with Emotional Behavior Disorders, is less than $4 in PDF and less than $15 from Prufrock Press or Amazon. It has step by step forms for the FBA and the book will help you identify what interventions your son needs.

I hope this answer has given you some information to help you advocate for your child. Please feel free to ask a follow up question. I wish you the best in this difficult situation and encourage you to seek help right away. Your son's future and success can be affected by this pattern of removals. You can look in your parent rights booklet for the parent info center near you and use the COPAA website to find an advocate near you. Thank you very much for using this service and writing to me!

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.

Expertise

I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.

Experience

10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Education/Credentials
Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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