Manifestation determination meetings are required to be held for any child with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) any time a child commits a significant rule violation(s), which has led to 10 days of suspension-either consecutively or over the course of the current school year. The meeting must be held within 10 days to determine if the rule violation(s) are a result of the child's disability or not. If the child has not had a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) that was used to create a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), one must be completed prior to the meeting.
The IEP team, which includes the parent(s), must review the child's school records that may include the child's IEP, attendance records, discipline records, grades and progress reports, teacher observations or other relevant material. If there is a current BIP, it must be reviewed and amended as needed to provide the child a higher level of support needed to be successful at school. If the child does not have a current BIP, an FBA must be completed to analyze the child's behavior to determine what types of supports are needed for the child to be successful in school.
The IEP team must determine if the rule violation(s) that occurred were as a result of the child's disability or for other reasons. If it is determined that the misconduct occurred as a result of the school district not following the IEP that must be ratified immediately. If the rule violation is determined NOT to be a result of the child's disability, he/she may receive disciplinary action in the same manner a child without a disability would. However, any child with a disability who is removed from school for more than 10 days has a right to the provision of special education services to continue progress on their IEP goals and objectives and have access to the general education curriculum.
If the team determines through careful review of the records that the misconduct was a result of the child's disability the team must decide whether the child can remain in the current setting with additional supports and/or with a change of services or a change of program or if the child needs to be referred to an alternative placement. If the team determines and the parent agrees that the child needs an alternative placement the school district must continue to provide special education services until the alternative placement is secured and the child begins receiving services at that placement.
A child with an IEP may not be moved to an alternative placement without holding a manifestation determination review except under the following circumstances of extreme violations of the code of conduct. Those circumstances include the following violations committed on school property or doing a school sponsored activity: possession of a weapon, illegal drug possession or use, the solicitation to sell or the sale of illegal drugs or the infliction of serious bodily harm.
Keep in mind that your child with an IEP may not be removed from school for more than 10 days without receiving special education services to provide them access to the general education curriculum and asssist them in reaching their goals and objectives. As the parent(s) you are part of the team who determines whether your child's behavior is a manifestation of their disability.