Keeping Students with Disabilities in School

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Students with disabilities are presently suspended at much higher rates than other students in school districts across Texas and nationwide.

In 2014, Jim Comstock-Galagan, Executive Director of the former Southern Disability Law Center completed a Resource Manual that addresses legal strategies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as well effective educational practices for preventing the suspension of students with disabilities.

Keeping Students with Disabilities in School: Legal Strategies and Effective Educational Practices for Preventing the Suspension of Students with Disabilities

https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/disc.SDLC.res.manual.galagan.pdf

Although there are a few references to Texas’ SPED regulations, the Manual predominately focuses on creative uses of IDEA’s provisions to prevent the suspension of students with disabilities…. and also ways to ensure that appropriate FBA are conducted and effective BIPs are developed\implemented with an emphasis on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

The Manual addresses

  • Related Services – the types of services that can be obtained under IDEA’s definitions of social work, counseling, psychological services; the need for measurable and annual related services goals in a student’s IEP; the circumstances under which increases in related services should be sought; and strategies for securing increases;
  • Strategies for obtaining Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) which include Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). These strategies include using several different IDEA provisions that do not specifically mention FBAs or BIPs but can be used to obtain FBAs\BIPs ( e.g. initial evaluations; reevaluations; peer reviewed research; supplementary aids and services; supports for school personnel)
  • Strategies for obtaining Supplementary Aids and Services that are geared toward students with behavioral challenges. These services include check‐in, check‐out with a social worker; circles of friends; classroom companion; peer buddy outside of class; peer tutors; behavior aid; FBAs, and BIPs;
  • IDEA’s requirement to review and revise students IEPs when they are not making academic and/or behavioral progress (and strategies for using this provision to increase related services, supplementary aids\services, and\or provide other behavioral supports including a FBA and BIP);
  • Students right to receive direct educational services and related services (NOT home‐work packets) whenever they are removed via suspensions\expulsion for more than 10 school days annually. Requiring school districts to provide direct educational and related services can serve as a deterrent to suspending students;
  • A student’s right to a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR), the legal standard for the MDR, the individuals required to make the decision, the student records that must be reviewed in making the decision and strategies for obtaining accurate MDR decisions.

SDLC’s Resource Manual also addresses effective educational practices including detailed discussions of related services; the essential elements of quality Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs); and the essential elements of effective Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) including the use of PBIS.

The Manual also includes a number of practical tools called Protocols that can be used as checklists to ensure that related services, FBAs and BIPs include the various criteria and essential elements discussed in the effective educational practices sections of the Manual.

  1. My 13 yr old son has Tourette Syndrome, OCD, & sever ADHD. most of his 6th grade being teased by another student, his friend came to his defense and was given ISS. 7th grade the Bully continued not only calling my son the same name but made songs up about his penis size. I reported these issues to the school and ISS was handed out as a solution, the taunting and terrorizing of my child worsened i reported bruises on both shins to his teacher, she asked that i double check with my son because they had attempted moving seats to moving to different homeroom. My son had a episodic rage on social media over Spring Break on the bully after being called the same name again, the MD determined his disabilty Not to be an influence so expelled my son for a zero tolerance.

  2. Please someone help me answer my questions. is okay to leave my now 7 year old daughter in a secluded room for lunch and recess detention without a adult in there twice. second time I went during her detention because I didn’t believe her. she wasn’t lying. she was in there office twirling backwards in there chair no adult in Sight and you can’t see beyond the brick walls. she has since been out of control more and at that time received 19 bus write ups and one written insubordination. the school never got back to me saying they couldn’t go that back into the cameras help !!!

  3. My son has an IEP. He was written up 14 times in a period of about 2 months or so of the beginning of the school year. He had 2-3 ISS and 2 OSS. This all took place after his principal and I had a few words a week after school started. For minor infractions he got written up for.Because he was being picked on or bullied by another student or a couple of other students and took up for himself. He would tell the teacher but they said he was tattling, do nothing about it. We did have an IEP meeting they said they could not afford another aid. Little did I know it was in his IEP to have a scribe. When addressing the issue of him being picked on or bullied. One particular teacher said it had to be done by a couple students on one or more occasions. We have since moved. My son has been in residential treatment for over 2 mnths and is just now getting to come home tomorrow. Do you have any advice for this school year???? HELP PLEASE!!!

  4. If a student is suspended per OSS and ISS, what are they obligations of the school district to provide the suspended student instructional time. The question is posed whether the suspension involves just OSS, or ISS, or a combination of both? Thank you!

    • In general if the OSS or ISS results in 10 consecutive, or accumulative days of missed special ed services, the school must provide educational instruction in some location. Check this website for resources on the disciplinary rules.

  5. If the student is suspended for behavioral conduct and the school failed to call an emergency IEP/BIP meeting to revise student IEP and BIP, possible request to conduct a FBA when behaviors increased daily for this setting and strategies have failed with no attempt to increase related services, supplementary aids\services, and\or provide other behavioral supports including getting an Adult Support which is noted in the supplementary aids/services of the IEP, how can the suspension be overturned and removed from the child’s school records?

    • If the student is suspended for behavioral conduct and the school failed to call an emergency IEP/BIP meeting to revise student IEP and BIP, possible request to conduct a FBA when behaviors increased daily for this setting and strategies have failed with no attempt to increase related services, supplementary aids\services, and\or provide other behavioral supports including getting an Adult Support which is noted in the supplementary aids/services of the IEP, how can the suspension be overturned and removed from the child’s school records?

  6. Do the IDEA laws apply to special education students in a non-public school? If not, what and where is the law for special ed students in non-public setting?

    • Ronni: Are you asking about children whose parents place them in private schools? These children are not entitled to IEPs.

      However, the Child Find Mandate requires all school districts to identify, locate and evaluate all children with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities. This obligation to identify all children who may need special education services exists even if the school is not providing special education services to the child. https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/child.find.index.htm

      Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Nothing prevents a private school from developing a plan for your daughter that includes the accommodations and/or modifications she needs in her education.

      This article by the Office of Civil Rights will help you understand Section 504: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html

      If you go to the Wrightslaw site, you’ll see (on left side of every page) a long list of topics. One topic is Section 504 and Discrimination – you’ll find dozens of articles that will help you learn:
      https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/sec504.index.htm

      You need to develop expertise about your child’s rights and how to effectively advocate for her. We have a blog where people post questions. You may find answers to some of your questions here: https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/home/
      https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/category/section-504/

      You may also want to use the search box on any Wrightslaw page – search terms – “private schools” “charter schools” “non-public schools”

      • It appears you have misunderstood what I am asking. My child has an IEP not a 504. I am a very strong, dedicated advocate for my son as I have nearly wrote his IEP and BIPs due to the inexperience staff of the public school systems and receive much praise. It can be intimidating because I speak the same lingo of the school staff and well versed in IEPs etc. I want to know if IDEA applies to non-public schools when a student is placed there via an IEP team meeting and all have agreed this is the correct placement for the student. I am not familiar with the law as it relates to non-public schools and IDEA. Is it the same or is the law different?

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