Special Education Considerations
When incidents involve Special Education students, please continue to contact the student’s case manager. The collaboration of the case manager and faculty/staff and administrator will ensure personalized and proximal responses that will contribute to the student’s ongoing personal growth and understanding.
Students with Disabilities
The discipline of students with disabilities is subject to applicable state and federal law in addition to the Student Code of Conduct. To the extent any conflicts arise, state and/or federal law will prevail.
A student with a disability is one who currently has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Section 504 Plan, or is suspected to have a disability.
A school district is considered to have prior knowledge of a suspected disability if:
- a parent expressed concerns in writing to an administrator/teacher that the student is in need of special education services;
- a request for an evaluation was made; or
- a teacher or another school personnel expressed specific concerns about a pattern of behavior to the Director of Student Services or other supervisory personnel.
If a student is subject to disciplinary measures while in the process of an initial evaluation the student must remain in the educational placement determined by school authorities. This can include a suspension or expulsion without educational services. The School District would be deemed to not have knowledge that a student has a disability when:
- the School District conducted an evaluation and determined that the student was not a student with a disability.
- the School District determined an evaluation was not necessary and provided proper Prior Written Notice prior to the behavioral incident.
- the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student has not allowed an evaluation of the student pursuant to IDEA, or has refused offered services.
Students who have not been identified as having a disability may be subjected to the same disciplinary measures applied to students without disabilities.
Removal for Ten (10) School Days or Less
A school may remove a student with a disability, as defined above, who violates the Wissahickon Code of Conduct from their current placement for no more than ten (10) consecutive school days in the same school year just as it does when disciplining students without disabilities. The school is not required to provide educational services during these short-term removals, unless the student is considered a student with an Intellectual Disability.
A student with a disability, as defined above, is considered to have a change of placement if the removal from their current educational program is:
- more than ten (10) consecutive school days in a single school year
- a series of short removals totaling 11-15 days in a single school year that constitute a pattern of exclusion
- more than fifteen (15) cumulative school days in a single school year
- one or more days of removal for a student that is identified as having an Intellectual Disability.
Once the student receives ten (10) days of removals a Manifestation Determination Meeting must be held. The school is required to provide educational and related services as listed in the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). When a student with a disability accrues ten (10) days of removals, because of one or more violations of the Code of Conduct, the school, the parent/guardian, and relevant members of the IEP team (such as, but not limited to: School Counselor, Board Certified Behavioral Analyst, Certified School Psychologists, and Case Manager) shall review all relevant information in the student’s file, including the student’s IEP, data, teacher observations, and any relevant information provided by the parent(s)/guardian(s) to determine if the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the student’s disability, or if the conduct in question was the direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP.
If the team determines that either the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the student’s disability, or if the conduct in question was the direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP for the student, the conduct shall be determined to be a manifestation of the student’s disability. If the behavior was deemed a manifestation of the student’s disability, the school must conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), unless it conducted one that addresses the behavior prior to the incident that resulted in the change of placement occurred, and implemented a Positive Behavior Support Plan (PBSP). If a PBSP was already developed, the school IEP team must review the PBSP and modify it, as necessary, to further address the behavior in question.
If the conduct was the direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP/504 plan, the school must take immediate steps to remedy those deficiencies. The school must return the student to the placement from which the student was removed immediately. However, the parent and the school may agree to a change of placement as part of the modification of the IEP/PBSP and through a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement/Prior Written Notice.
If the team determines that the conduct in question was not caused by, or did not have a substantial relationship to, the student’s disability, nor was the conduct in question a direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP, the student can be disciplined in the same manner and for the same duration as nondisabled students. During this time the student must continue to receive their educational and related services to ensure a free and appropriate education.
Whether or not the behavior was a manifestation of the student’s disability, the school may remove a student to an interim alternative educational setting (determined by the student’s IEP team) for not more than forty-five (45) school days, if the student:
- carries a weapon at school, on school premises, or to or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the School District;
- knowingly possesses or used illegal drugs, or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance, while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the School District; or
- has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the School District.
The parent must be notified of the decision to remove the student to an interim alternative educational setting and provide a copy of the Procedural Safeguard Notice.
If the parent of a student with a disability disagrees with any decision regarding educational placement or the manifestation determination, or the school believes that maintaining the current setting of the student is likely to result in substantial injury to the student or to others, they may request a due process hearing.
Reporting Crimes Committed by Students with Disabilities
Nothing in this Code of Conduct document prohibits the School District from reporting crimes to appropriate law enforcement and judicial authorities or to prevent State law enforcement and judicial authorities from exercising their responsibilities with regard to the application of Federal and State law to crimes committed by students with disabilities. The school reporting a crime shall ensure copies of the special education and disciplinary records of the student are provided to the appropriate authorities for consideration. Transmittal of records must be in accordance with Family Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).