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Charmaine:  I work in a school that has a behavior unit. At what point can a student be pulled out of general education classes due to violent and threatening behavior? The law says special education students should be in the least restrictive environment possible as long as they do disrupt the classes ability to learn.

Is it ok for a student to plop down in the hallway and scream all day long (sometimes left alone), while students are trying to learn in classrooms all around him?

Is it ok for a special education student to disrupt the entire Veterans day program by screaming and slapping the wall…..I feel the students and the parents that came to see their children deserved to be able to enjoy and actually here their children and speakers.

Is it alright for children to be threatened on a daily basis and sometimes kicked and hit?

I do not care for an answer with a bunch of references about IEP’s and intervention techniques.

I understand that special education children have the right to a free education and should be able to receive all the help they need. Many times they are put in situations that set them up to fail, all in the name of inclusion. Please give me an “at the end of the day” answer.

Beyond all of the interventions and accommodations, do their rights over ride the rights of general education students to have a safe and disruptive free environment. Some children thrive with inclusion and I love that. However, it is not appropriate for every child.

At what point can it be determined that they are too dangerous to be in general education classrooms. Or I guess is it even possible? I feel that school districts resist removal because of the cost of an alternative setting. Also, the law states that you cannot put a child in a room and not allow them to leave. So what are you supposed to do when a child is in a rage and runs out of the school? It makes no sense.

  1. Schools should be re-evaluating children at least every three years to prove they continue to require special education. You, as a parent, also always have the right to revoke consent for services and pull your child out of special education.

  2. I currently have a student in my gen-ed class that is basically holding his classmates and myself hostage on a daily basis. It is extremely frustrating and waiting for him to be screened, identified, and placed takes way too long. When a student is clearly in the wrong placement there should be a fast track for special ed services that he so desperately needs. Evacuating the classroom so that one kid can wreck the room 2-3 times a week makes no sense. Why are gen ed teachers and students being placed in this situation so frequently?

  3. I hear both sides and there are laws put in place for this unfortunately the differently able that are aware of their situation get lost in these laws. My child who has never been disciplined & doesn’t have a behavior problem Sure he can’t read or write because he is severely dyslexic He also as Asperger & is socially awkward but in my opinion he brain is still developing and we only have this window of opportunity to help it developed. Being with peers help this. Sure he needs accommodations but don’t well all at some point of our lives. The problem here is they have these “written rules” they can use instead of remembering some rule are made to made to broken. Not everybody colors inside the lines

  4. My child is has been getting A’s and is on the honor roll. He is general education. They decided to separate the 6th grade class and grouped him with the calss that gets lower level math and reading. He is getting A’s in regular 6th grade. What right do they have to limit his education like that?

    • Mary, if you disagree with a decision made about your child’s education, you need to put your disagreement and concerns in writing, then request a meeting with the school principal. Be firm but polite. Don’t be disagreeable.

      You need to advocate for your child because he is still too young to look out for his own interests.

  5. It ought to be illegal to keep youngsters who used to disrupt classes but no longer do so in special education in even the slightest degree! This is no way to reward a child or teenager for behaving him/herself and it causes the child or teenager irreversible psychological damage therefore, outlaw and abolish this practice immediately! Stop keeping a youngster who used to disrupt classes but no longer does so in special education against the youngster’s will in order to make money off of the student and/or for any other reason, it is exploitation, plain and simple! Please reply.

  6. Real virtual online learning is uncharted territory for all of us, I have a sped student in my engineering online class, I believe a in-person class, which starts in September will be good for him. As I taught class and sent out google forms to get him to sign up for help they needed, no one signed up. The online class they placed the student in has 30 or so students in it and the class is 3 hrs long. I reached out to their case manager after reading the accommodation again, their needs were physical interaction to correct behavior. I suggested to the case manager and then his mom, because the mom told me they would be at home alone. I wanted to put him one of the in-person classes and his mom agreed. The diagnostician made up lies, saying I wanted him out of the class?
    Can teachers input

    • You should be a member of the IEP team, & able to provide input. You could communicate what you have said here to your principal & special ed director in writing. Thanks for trying to help this student.

  7. Having taught for 43 years, I found my time, working in a school with a behavior unit, challenging. It became crystal clear that the regular classroom students were constantly denied an education in deference to the rights of students on behavioral IEP’s. Luckily, I only worked in this type of negative school setting for a small part of my overall career (four years).

    • Such a sad and true fact! The other students suffer in the name of one student’s right for inclusion! When do the rights of the other students and teachers matter?

      • I totally agree with this! I am in a situation right now where I teach Kindergarten and a student has just been identified with Autism and tested in the mid to high range, especially with transitions, noises and large groups. He is an eloper and will not stay seated unless an adult is with him 100% of the time. Even then midway through day he starts running around the room, screaming, hitting, climbing up on things and taking things off of shelves and my desk to run around with. He will bang on my computer. I am being told that he will continue to be in my room with a collab teacher and just have part time IA support, which I feel is such a disservice to him and especially to my other K students and myself as a teacher. I cannot sleep and am considering quitting my job.

  8. If a child can’t receive a FAPE in a regular ed classroom with supportive services, modifications, etc, the team must consider other options. The IDEA requires schools to provide a “continuum of placements,” from reg ed with supports, to resource, self contained, day treatment and residential programs.

    We discuss kids with behavior problems in Ch 7 and placement options in Chapter 10 of Wrightslaw: All About IEPs. The TOC, sample chapters, etc are on the book info page:

  9. As a teacher. I will continue to fight for the rights of children to safe educational environments. Yes, absolutely I have done everything in my power to remove a violent child. No matter if they are general or IEP, a child who hits is a danger to others and is not in the appropriate environment. Least Restrictive environment is a term which does not always mean the General Classroom. I will tier lessons, provide individual attention, go to IEP meetings, provide every accommodation and take every PD, but the minute a child physically lashes out at myself or another child, I will work to remove the child from a general classroom setting. To do anything less is to discriminate against every other child in my room. Safety first. ALWAYS. IEPs should NOT be used to accept violence.

    • You can fight all you want, but it is illegal. They’re on an IEP for a reason whether you agree with it or not is beside the point. If you can’t handle it then leave the profession.

      • Well that’s not helpful. There is nothing in SPED law that says a violent student must be kept in a gen ed setting just because they are on an IEP. IEPs document the students disability and lists the ways teachers should accommodate their needs. Never does one state that they are to allow the student to hurt themselves or others. If the students actions are the result of their documented disability you cannot remove them from school, but you can change the setting they are being taught in. In the past this was done too often, we have now over corrected to the detriment of every one. The gen ed setting is in a constant state of chao, and the child with the disability is not getting the instruction they actually need so they can someday be a member of the community. We are failing them all.

      • Actually, no, assault even with an IEP in place is illegal. An IEP, a disability, is no excuse, no justification, for assaulting another student or staff member.

        The very fact that the student is lashing out out violently means the student is in the wrong environment, or with the wrong supports, etc.

        It is not illegal to protect the rights of all students. In fact, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law by discouraging others from protecting themselves.

      • That’s a dumb response. If they are violent they should not be near other children. aggression and violence in a classroom is not ok. What about the least restrictive environment for regular ed students????

      • First off, I would like to say that I AM an EC teacher, and it is totally legal to have a special needs “problem child” removed from a general ed classroom if they are considered a threat and / or disruptive 50% or more of the time to other students. You obviously have no sense of knowledge on this particular matter, and should not be spouting off your “wrongful” opinions. Maybe YOU should be the one to leave this profession.. Enjoy that food for thought.

      • Melissa, you are wrong. It is NOT illegal to remove a kid who harms other kids or teachers from the classroom. Your comment that if Harry doesn’t like your incorrect legal position, he should leave the profession is rude at best.

        This child needs to be reevaluated, including a new Functional Behavior Assessment, to determine causes of the outbursts. After the IEP team, including the parent, receives new eval info, they needs to revise the IEP and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) so the child receives a FAPE. If he is exploding in the reg ed classroom, he may need a different placement. He may benefit from a residential treatment program.

      • But the law also says that they need to be in the least restrictive environment which may not be the general education classroom. In order to receive a FAPE, the student may need to be placed in an alternative setting. Please be kind and helpful.

      • So many teachers ARE leaving for this reason. They can’t handle it and are not paid enough to do it. Now there is a teacher shortage. .especially special educators. I have stayed in but at the cost of my health. So, Melissa, your reply is not only unhelpful but uninformed.

    • I admire your advocacy for all students. I can tell you want students to succeed and you go “above and beyond”. Violence in the classroom should not be accepted. When you say “removed,” I think you may mean “removed” with resources, supports and proper settings to ensure progress. I have witnessed violent behaviors in the classroom and have seen students injured. Safety is always a priority and I have seen some behavioral students make progress with the the right supports for them. I have witnessed some succeed and move on to college, military etc. Such success also involves support for the parents, extracurricular and mentoring and professional services. Thank you for your dedicated service. I know it is not easy but so worth it. Your honestly is appreciated.

    • Thank you! I am currently being sanctioned by administrators for working to get a student removed who continually disrupts and is ED. What about the remainder of my students? Don’t they deserve an education? Should the whole class be held hostage to one student’s IEP? So then they will place this student in a Resource class so they can disrupt that room also. Jeesh!

  10. My son has behavioral issues stemming from Autism. School refuses to help will not even do an FBA for him. They have decided that the General Education kids are more important than my son because they are going to do things with their lives. They threw him into a self contained class so the other kids could learn without distractions. I requested for him to be moved back to a general ed setting but the school refused saying they have to educate all of the kids. What about teaching kids diversity and working with students who are disabled? What is the schools problem and how can i get them to help my son.

    • The school maybe taking the position of they cannot educate your son. However he is teachable. Request for that FBA in writing ASAP. Teachers need to know what triggers his meltdown. From there they will do Behavioral Intervention Plan which will give his teachers the tools they need to calm him down. If they refuse to do this they must give you prior written notice. If you continue to have problems with the school please file a complaint with OCR or the State Education Agency. You can even request mediation with the school.

    • No offense, but it’s your son (1 kid) verses 20+ more kids who actually WANT to learn.. Has anyone said your kid is considered a distraction or violent/hostile in class..? If so, maybe that’s food for thought..

      • That’s a horrible statement and is exactly what’s wrong with this society. Most autistic children are not violent first of all, and second autistic children do WANT to learn they just learn DIFFERENTLY. People don’t deserve to be tossed aside because they don’t “fit the mold”.

    • Some great things have already been said. Your son is of course teachable and if this is a public school or a school receiving certain public monies, they do have a duty to find a way to get your son educated.

      It is possible that they are not able to reasonably accommodate your son to his needs and they may be going the roundabout way of saying this. In which case, they still need to be part of alternate services, even to paying for private school.

      Now, if testing and reviews have been done, it may have been decided that the general ed classroom was the LRE for your son. Do you recall this ever being discussed? Ideally, reasonable supports and training might allow the general classroom to be LRE. But… it doesn’t always work that way.

    • To continue my post..;.

      If, even with reasonable accommodations and training, your son is still unable to be in the classroom without being a major distraction and interuption (again, with proper supports in place anyway) a self-contained room may in fact be the LRE.

      Discuss it with the IEP team and if possible an advocate.

    • If a child can’t receive a FAPE in a regular ed classroom with supportive services, modifications, etc, the team must consider other options. The IDEA requires schools to provide a “continuum of placements,” from reg ed with supports, to resource, self contained, day treatment and residential programs.
      We discuss placement options at length in Chapter 10 of Wrightslaw: All About IEPs.
      The book includes over 200 questions and answers about IEPs. Each answer references the law or regulation we relied upon in the answer.

  11. My daughter is a general education student in an inclusive classroom that is half general education and half ASD students. My daughter and her peers in the classroom have been attacked physically and abused on multiple occasions (on a daily/weekly basis) since September. Parents have complained, meetings have been held, the school committee and local politicians have been informed. The fact that physical abuse is continuing is wrong on so many levels. All children in the classroom deserve to be safe ASD and Gen Ed. All of the parents are sick over this situation. We feel alone, angry and scared for all children involved. When is enough, enough? Why isn’t physical abuse taken more seriously? These are children!

    • That should not be allowed to happen. I also need to know the protocol when a special education student is interfering with other students’ learning. I am all about inclusion and making it work for all. But sometimes it isn’t the right thing to do.

    • You could write this same post and remove all reference to “ASD students” and you would be describing a situation that plays out in thousands of classrooms every day. For every study focused on ASD and aggression there is another focused on ADHD and ODD and don’t get me started on mental health studies about anxiety, depression etc.

      One thing that is fairly consistent in ASD is a need for routine and order. These needs very often result in people who are rule followers – the rules create the order that creates the security of predictable outcomes in the person with ASD.

      “ASD students” with sensory challenges or co-occurring conditions (including mental health) and inadequately trained teachers may not be best served in gen. ed. – but many (maybe MOST) do very well!

    • yes enough is enough. sadly we are not academically educating the children who need academics. I feel special education has gone too far with all of the reasons for allowing disruptions to the ACADEMIC educational system that is school. Prove to me that this is working and that the US is academically scoring better than the rest of the world?

  12. Is it ok for a teacher asst to assault your child with special needs? NO just like it’s not alright for them to assault a NON SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD.

  13. My niece has been assaulted by a 504 plan student 3 separate times now. The school is doing nothing to protect my child. Can her mother file assault charges against this other student? She has left marks and bruises on my niece every time.

  14. Special ed law trumps general ed law every single time. Special ed kids have more rights than general ed kids and if you fight it in court you will lose. It is the same with minority students. They are protected from discipline because it is “cultural” and districts are afraid their discipline numbers will look disproportional. I am so glad that my children have graduated because of all of the crap they would have to deal with from all of the other students. Good students don’t bring poor students up, poor students pull good students down. Proven fact..

    • Thank GOD my kids have graduated. I would not tolerate for one minute what I see happening to classrooms with extreme behavior students. If I didn’t need the money to survive I would walk away from this absurdity. Ohhhhh, they have this history of abuse…guess what? now all the kids who have been in their class have the same abuse.

    • Define “good kid.” And then post your bigoted alternative “fact” because that is not true. Poor kids don’t bring strong-minded “good” kids down. Only weak needing to fit in kids who are incorrectly labeled “good” would follow a not so good kid. And what kinda “good” kid follows the primrose path of an ASD pied piper? That “good kid” is a stalker because believe me, the 1 thing ASD kids are is indifferent to the company of others, especially “peers.” They don’t want to be bothered which is probably what causes the meltdowns because some “good kid” wants to be friends or worse, bully, which sadly may end in aggression.

      • Carlita – while I agree with your sentiment mostly, I think kids with ASD often “appear” indifferent, but often really yearn for interpersonal relationships…they just need our help figuring out how it’s done!

        I agree that aggression is often the result of bullying. Not only by other kids but also by intolerant and ignorant adults. If adults think they’ll raise a child with autism the same way as they were raised or the same way they raised another kid, they are in for a long, hard struggle. (Thank you for speaking up, BTW :))

        • I don’t usually respond but this one hits close to the heart…

          My certs: I am
          4-8 Generalist certified
          7-12 Math Certified
          k-12 ESL Certified
          K-12 Special Education Certified
          I am also AUTISTIC

          Saying someone is “Autistic” is like calling someone “Alive” very vague. Autistic people do indeed “appear” to be withdrawn and in a public setting with a lot of external stimulation they in fact do not want interaction with others, it feels like an assault on them personally. While in other quieter settings they may in fact want interpersonal relationships to develop. These relationships develop naturally over time and can not be forced (or they will fall apart) I would never encourage a person to persistently invade the personal space of an autistic student if that student appears to withdraw from the stimulus. This is why they tend to lash out. It is not that an autistic person is “over reacting” they are correctly reacting to their perceived “attack on their person” to the outside world it seems like an uneven action/reaction and that is what takes a long time to learn. An autistic person needs to learn “what others see” but the “normal” people need to also learn “what others see”. It is just a good rule of thumb. I am sorry for the length but again AUTISTIC.

          Just love everyone to the point that it hurts, and give until there is nothing left to give, then figure out how to give even more. That is how we will all overcome this “life” as we call it.

  15. I think school administrators pick their battles on which kids to move to more restrictive environments and some parents won’t allow such. From my experience, it can very very “traumatizing” to a room of kids (especially K-3) to see a kid “tear up” a classroom and the only solution is to clear out the classroom. I have seen children kicked, bitten, injured as well as staff. Some districts do not want to spend the funding to send kids to settings that may benefit them better. Some districts sadly blame the kids who are outplayed for “draining” the school budgets. There are no easy answers. All kids need an education and all kids need to feel safe.

    • Never was my child a general ed student first, no kids w/ medical complexities are. It might as well be 1985 again around here. Parents do not know either, they are working and struggling with medical challenges. There is nobody at Dhs that knows anything, and neither does the school social worker (for state services). School admins & directors they certainly are not telling parents about advocacy groups. I asked year after year, I called DHS every year I didn’t know the correct terminology, & I wasn’t asking correctly. It’s worse than I can even put into words. My child is medically complex, but she absolutely IS teachable. Southeast Michigan is not inclusive at all, esp if the child is medically severe.

  16. It seems districts are one extreme or the other. I am the mom to a child who was placed in a separate school from day 1, 13 yrs ago. Knowing now what I do, no way would I have ever agreed to this setting. “Typical society” would view her (and does) as physicaly & mentally impaired, not a child w/ behaviors considered as “bad”. I hired an advocate after opening my eyes, requested FBA once I knew to, but it was denied. That was my last straw. After a lot of hoop jumping & an entire yr of school wasted, I was able to prove that the “glorified daycare” was not & never has provided Fape. When your local ISD agrees with you, & grants a deviation request without mediation or due process that says alot. Fry case will determine my steps. We are in MI also

  17. Schools are allowed to move students with disabilities into more restrictive environments. The special ed director, & school attorney should know how this can be done legally in your state. For some reason they are not doing this, or sharing their efforts with staff. Schools are also required to teach students appropriate behavior. It appears that your district is not doing this.

    • Chuck, I am a general education teacher in the state of Texas. I was a special education teacher for 18 years. The issue I am facing is having a AU child with behavior issues who is in first grade. He doesn’t comply to directions and it takes a bit of time to coax him to do what I have asked. In the meantime, 19 students are waiting for me to teach. They too are learning appropriate behaviors, and on a daily basis are witness to me taking so much time trying to have this child attend that it is not fair for them. Special Education dept. want to give general education more time where he can “learn” the proper social skills to make him successful. Our district is “data” driven so he looks good on paper but no one has observed his behaviors. Why aren’t behaviors a part of the data?

      • Julie – if the child needs an IEP you can talk to the parents and the administrators to have him tested. When he has an IEP his behaviors can be addressed in an FBA or just as a functional goal, depending on what the team comes up with. The benefit of having children educated with their peers isn’t debatable any longer, and IDEA gives educators and parents direction on how that can be accomplished. The IEP team can develop a plan that provides you AND the student with the resources and tools to allow him to learn in an inclusive classroom, or not, depending on his needs and the team’s decision.

        • Thank you, Peter. The student does have an IEP. Math is his strength, Language Arts is his weakness. He is speech impaired (SI) and has many behaviors that we are currently working on. Our Para’s need training and really are unsure how to work with him. Meantime, I have to step away from ‘teaching” the class because he is slamming student I-Pads or grabbing student papers. He has a BIP. We have everything in place that a child in special education can have for 1st grade in an open concept school. What he doesn’t have now is one on one in a quiet area to work on weaknesses (where he was excelling). It isn’t a support if you are having to train another adult while teaching. I’ve been a special education teacher and now a general education teacher. All my students have “needs”.

      • Julie, as Peter says, a well written FBA, & BIP should be able to benefit the student, you & the other students. If they are not, they need to be rewritten. Your ESC should have an Autism specialist that can assist you. TX rules 89.1075(c), & (d) address your right to request help. You also need to learn about the TX Autism supplement rules, & what this child’s supplement says. I am in TX, & can give you help about the supplement.

        • You can rewrite them until the cows come home, but that does nothing but waste everyone’s time. Implementation is the issue. When the child does something that could cause serious harm to themselves or others and receives no consequences (not negative ones, but someone specifically teaching them another way to express their needs) and there is NO para educator in the classroom to help? The teacher is screwed. I can try to coax one student down from a book case who is screaming no at me, or I can teach 19 other kids- IF I could get their attention. We write all these lovely plans, but when it is time for someone other than the classroom teacher to provide a service, they are too short-handed. And they ARE too short-handed. We need more staff. THAT is why kids sit in the hall and scream.

          • i just wish this country could figure out a better way. People that do not teach will never understand… are correct.

      • Let’s focus on your question as that is the issue at hand. Why aren’t his behaviors part of the data? Who developed the data goals? If the behaviors were included, that may give the parents the documentation to take the student down a different path (evaluations, IEP, due process, outplacement, specialized therapy,,etc.). When I was a para, a teacher changed the behavioral data I had collected on a student (I was well trained in data gathering) to present a different pic to the parents and district supervisors. The teacher wanted to show progress and not show the “real picture” of how this student’s behaviors manifested in class. Some schools just “push and pass” as I call it to provide minimum services and pass on unaddressed issues to the next school.

    • Even students with disabilities should still be held accountable for their behaviors and many schools are not doing this. Special Ed students get away with way too much in the classroom.

      • I agree that these students need consequences, & to learn appropriate behaviors. Functional behavior assessments, behavior improvement plans, social skills groups, positive behavior interventions, & supports are ways to do this, in addition to them “being held accountable.” In TX most schools just send them to discipline centers (to learn new bad behaviors) & provide none of the above.

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