Should my child receive educational services during a suspension or expulsion?
Note: This information is from our manual, Discipline in Public Schools.
If a child has an Individualized Educational Program (IEP), the special education laws require a district to provide on-going access to educational services. See Protecting the Educational Rights of Students with Disabilities.
Also, as of June 2016, districts must provide access to educational services for any student who is suspended or expelled.
While students may be excluded from school for the period of suspension or expulsion, districts must provide students with an opportunity to receive educational services during that time. If educational services are provided in an alternative setting, the alternative setting should be comparable, equitable and appropriate to the regular education services a student would have received without the exclusionary discipline. See changes to the laws made in 2016.
Talk with the school district about what alternative education opportunities will work for your child. Also read the next section on re-engagement meetings so you can start planning for your student's return to school as soon as possible.
Keep the lines of communication open with the school, so that you can try to avoid the need for school discipline before it is imposed. Know about your child’s behavior at school by keeping in touch with teachers and administrators. Whenever there is an incident at school, ask for a meeting to talk about it. This will help you and the school address problem behavior better and also make sure the school is following the rules when imposing discipline. When behavior has been a consistent problem, consider making a special education referral to evaluate your child. This could help determine whether there is a more serious emotional or behavioral disorder impairing your child’s ability to learn. Your child may be eligible for help. See the Office of the Education Ombuds’s publication on Protecting the Educational Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Schools for information on special education referrals. Finally, keep all of the documentation you receive about school discipline.