Child is Disrupting My Class – What Can I Do?

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I am a general education teacher. One of my students, who has an IEP, interrupts class several times a day.  It is not uncommon for him to blurt out on-  and off-topic comments, or start singing, or get up and leave the room.

I have been told that there is nothing the school can do about his behavior because the law is absolute. The district says 80% of our special education students need to be in general education classes 80% of the time.  Is there a law that protects my general education students?  Their education is being negatively impacted on a daily basis.

The law does not require that any percent of children be educated in general ed classes any percent of the time. If the district is using a formula (80%), they do not understand the “least restrictive environment” preference in the IDEA, which says,

“To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities … are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular education environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability … is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.” 20 U.S.C. 1412(5)(A)

Courts have held that educating a disabled child in general education (LRE), while preferable, is secondary to ensuring that the child receives a free, appropriate public education.

In writing the IDEA, Congress knew that some children have behavior problems and may be disruptive. If a child’s behavior prevents him or other children from learning, the IEP team should do a Functional Behavioral Assessment. As the general ed teacher, you can and should request a Functional Behavioral Assessment.

After this assessment is completed, the child’s team should meet to develop positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) and other strategies to change the child’s behavior. As the general education teacher, you know the behavior that needs to be addressed. You should be part of the team that develops positive behavioral interventions and supports.

We discuss these issues – children with behavior problems and other special factors – in  Wrightslaw: All About IEPs. (Chapter 7)

This article about Functional Behavior Assessments will help you understand what needs to be done:

Check the info on OSEP National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support at

You’ll see that you have a state coordinator who is responsible for providing technical support and answering questions about how to implement PBIS. Contact your state coordinator for assistance.

Review this short article about behavior issues and other special factors in the IEP:

If you need additional help, review the articles on our Behavior & Discipline page at

Good luck!

  1. People, parents are missing the point. A behavior issue is one thing BUT when a child is violent and out right dangerous to the rest of the children in the classroom that child SHOULD be removed from the classroom environment for the safety and we’ll being of the other children period!

    • The problem is teachers are expected to teach to all students in their class with out the skills to do so or support.. Students were thrown into inclusion when they were not ready. There are no social skills programs to help with teaching skills to reduce behaviors. Behaviors are the student’s communicating!! Time to listen! Inclusion is not so a child with special needs is cared for by their peers and is expected to do work beyond their skills. Children have behaviors when the skills they are asked to do are beyond their abilities. There are better ways. The bottom line is all children deserve an education despite their label. It is up to the parent, teacher, administration, district etc to make sure the law is being followed and support is given to the teachers.