Special Education » Behavior and Discipline

Behavior and Discipline

Behavior is an important and valuable component of the educational process. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) defined a Response to Intervention (RtI) framework that identifies two systems of support to ensure that all students, including students with disabilities, have access to grade level standards and are successful academically. 

LMUSD is committed to providing behavioral support and services to students with exceptional needs in order to fully engage them in high quality learning environments that challenge and prepare them to be well-­rounded, active members of a global society. 



As California deepens the implementation of the Common Core state standards, one key aspect of support for all students will be to address behavioral needs. Each team member has a unique role within the RtI model to support students in developing the requisite skills, knowledge, and ability to be prepared for college and career. It is essential to a highly effective instructional program to ensure a balance between academic and behavioral systems, focusing on both sides of the RtI pyramid. 

Discipline
 
Lucia Mar Unified School District is committed to preparing students for responsible citizenship by fostering self-discipline and personal responsibility. Under California law, school districts are required to respond to student misconduct in a variety of ways that may include suspension from school and sometimes expulsion. In doing so, school personnel must be cognizant of the due process rights of all students and the additional rights of students eligible for special education services. 

Suspension and Expulsion 
Suspension and/or expulsion is permitted for misconduct related to school activity or attendance that occurs at any time, including, but not limited to: 
  • While on school grounds 
  • On the way to or from school 
  • During lunch period, whether on or off campus 
  • Going to, coming from, or during a school sponsored activity.
*See EC 48900 for offenses that may result in suspension and/or expulsion. 

Change of Placement Requirements 
Authority of School Personnel 
School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when determining whether to order a change in placement for a child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct. 

School personnel may remove a child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct from their current placement to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension, for not more than 10 school days (to the extent such alternatives are applied to children without disabilities). 

If school personnel seek to order a change in placement that would exceed 10 school days and the behavior that gave rise to the violation of the school code is determined not to be a manifestation of the child’s disability, the relevant disciplinary procedures applicable to children without disabilities may be applied to the child in the same manner and for the same duration in which the procedures would be applied to children without disabilities, except FAPE must be provided, although it may be provided in an interim alternative educational setting. 

Services 
A child with a disability who is removed from the child’s current placement under special circumstances (removal to an interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 school days irrespective of whether the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the child’s disability), or the above exceeded 10 school days removal shall: 
  • Continue to receive educational services, in accordance with FAPE, so as to enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the child’s IEP; and 
  • Receive, as appropriate, a functional behavioral assessment, behavioral intervention services and modifications, that are designed to address the behavior violation so that it does not recur. 
   Short-term removals of 10 days or less  A series of short-term removals totaling more than 10 cumulative days  A long-term removal/suspension of more than 10 days (consecutive) 
 Considered a change of placement?  No.  Yes.    Yes.
 Educational Services  The district does not need to provide services during periods of removal for 10 school days or less if services are not provided to non-disabled children who have been similarly removed.   On the eleventh day, the school district must provide educational services to the extent necessary to: (1) Enable the child to appropriately progress in the general curriculum; and (2) Continue to receive those services and modifications, including those described in the child’s current IEP, that will enable the child to meet the goals of the IEP. The IEP team determines the extent to which services are necessary to comply with these standards.   On the eleventh day, the school district must provide educational services to the extent necessary to: (1) Enable the child to appropriately progress in the general curriculum; and (2) Continue to receive those services and modifications, including those described in the child’s current IEP, that will enable the child to meet the goals set out in the IEP. The IEP team determines the extent to which services are necessary to comply with these standards. 
 Manifestation Determination Review required?  No.  Yes, not later than 10 school days after the date on which the decision to impose a removal that constitutes a change of placement.  Yes, not later than 10 school days after the date on which the decision to impose a removal that constitutes a change of placement. 
 Functional Analysis Assessment and Intervention Services required?  No.    Yes, designed to address the behavior violation so that it does not recur.   Yes, designed to address the behavior violation so that it does not recur. 

*In-School-Suspension counts as days of suspension if the student is not provided access to special education services. 
 
Manifestation Determination Review 
The IDEA requires the LEA to conduct a Manifestation Determination Review within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct. No later than the date on which the decision to take a disciplinary action is made, the LEA must notify parents of that decision and of all Procedural Safeguards.  The LEA, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP team (as determined by the parent and the LEA), conduct the Manifestation Determination Review meeting.  

The team must review all relevant information in the student’s file, including the child’s IEP, any teacher observations and any relevant information provided by the parent(s), to determine: 
I. If the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child’s disability;
OR
II. If the conduct in question was the direct and substantial result of the local education agency’s failure to implement the IEP.

Factors to be considered by the IEP team include: 
  • The student’s disability classification 
  • The contents of the student’ s IEP concerning the student’ s behavior 
  • Information contained in the student’s recent evaluations that may be used to show that the student’s misconduct can be predicted such as 
  • Poor impulse control 
  • Inability to fully understand consequences of behavior 
  • Failure to know right from wrong 
  • Tendency to be disruptive or become easily angered 
  • The student’s history of misconduct 
  • Patterns of behavior versus an isolated incident 
 
If the LEA, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP team determine that either (I) or (II) above is applicable, the conduct shall be determined to be a manifestation of the child’s disability. If the LEA, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP Team make the determination that the conduct was a manifestation of the child’s disability, the IEP team will: 
  • Conduct a functional analysis assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan for the child, unless the LEA conducted a functional behavioral assessment prior to the manifestation determination 
  • If a behavioral intervention plan has been developed, the team must review the plan and modify it, as necessary to address the behavior; and 
  • Return the child to the placement from which the child was removed, unless the parent and the LEA agree to a change of placement as part of the modification of the behavioral intervention plan or if the conduct is subject to automatic removal (refer to special circumstances 45-day removal) 
 
If the LEA, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP Team make the determination that the conduct was NOT a manifestation of the child’s disability, the appropriate LEA disciplinary action may proceed, assuring that the student continues to be provided with FAPE. 
 
Interim Alternative Education 
School personnel may remove a student to an interim alternative educational placement for not more than 45 school days without regard to whether the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the child’s disability, in cases where a child: 
  • Carries or possess a weapon to or at school, on school premises, or to or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the state or LEA; 
  • Knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs, or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance, while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the state or LEA; or 
  • Has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the state or LEA. 
    **“Serious bodily injury,” for the purposes of the IDEA, is defined as bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member organ, or mental faculty. 
Not later than the date on which the decision to take disciplinary action is made, the LEA shall notify the parents of that decision, and all of the procedural safeguards. The IEP team shall determine the alternative educational setting. 

Appeal and Hearing 
The parent of a child with a disability who disagrees with any decision regarding placement, or the manifestation determination, or the LEA believes that maintaining the current placement of the child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others, may request a hearing. 

The hearing officer may order a change in placement of a child with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 school days if the hearing officer determines that maintaining the current placement of such child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others or may return the child to the placement from which the child was removed. 

When a parent or LEA requests a hearing regarding the interim alternative educational setting or a manifestation determination, the child shall remain in the interim educational setting pending the decision of the hearing officer, or until the expiration of the 45 day time period, whichever occurs first, unless the parent and the state or local educational agency agree otherwise. In such cases, the state or LEA shall arrange for an expedited hearing, which shall occur within 20 school days of the date the hearing is requested and a decision shall be made within 10 school days after the hearing. 

Protections for Children Not Yet Eligible for Special Education and Related Services 
A child who has not been determined to be eligible for special education and related services under the IDEA, and who has engaged in behavior that violates a code of student conduct, may assert any of the protections provided under the IDEA if the LEA had knowledge that the child was a child with a disability before the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action occurred. The LEA shall be deemed to have knowledge that a child is a child with a disability if, before the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action occurred: 
  • The parent of the child has expressed concern in writing to supervisory or administrative personnel of the appropriate educational agency, or a teacher of the child, that the child is in need of special education and related services; 
  • The parent of the child has requested an evaluation of the child; or 
  • The teacher of the child, or other personnel of the LEA, has expressed specific concerns about a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the child, directly to the Director of Special Education of such agency or to other supervisory personnel of the agency. 
If the LEA does not have knowledge that a child is a child with a disability prior to taking disciplinary measures against the child, the child may be subjected to disciplinary measures applied to children without disabilities who engaged in comparable behaviors. However, if a request is made for an evaluation of a child during the time period in which the child is subjected to disciplinary measures, the evaluation shall be conducted in an expedited manner. If the child is determined to be a child with a disability, taking into consideration information from the evaluation conducted by the agency and information provided by the parents, the agency shall provide special education and related services in accordance with the IDEA, except that, pending the results of the evaluation, the child shall remain in the educational placement determined by school authorities.