Discipline

  • General Guidance for Disciplining Students with Disabilities

    In general, all students are expected to meet the requirements for behavior as set forth in the student handbook and the school’s code of conduct. In accordance with Chapter 71B of the Massachusetts General Laws and with federal law IDEA 2004: Section 615(k), the school may suspend or remove your child from his or her current placement for no more than ten (10) school days (or fewer if the removals constitute a pattern). Special provisions are outlined below for students with a documented disability who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). 

    Suspension of Students with Disabilities 

    Procedures for suspension(s) not exceeding 10 school days: 

    • Any student with a disability may be suspended for up to ten (10) days during a school year. Disciplinary decisions are the same as for students without disabilities.
    • Special circumstances exist if your child: possesses, uses, sells or solicits illegal drugs on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event; carries a weapon to school or a school-sponsored event; or inflicts serious bodily harm upon another person at school or a school-sponsored event. Under these circumstances, the TEAM may place your child in an interim alternate educational setting (IAE) for up to forty-five (45) school days. Your child may remain in this interim alternate setting for a period of time not to exceed forty-five (45) school days. Thereafter, your child will return to the previously agreed upon placement unless a hearing officer has ordered another placement, or you and the school agree to another placement. 

    Procedures for suspension of students with a disability when suspension exceeds 10 school days: 

    • If your child is suspended for more than ten (10) school days in a school year, this removal is considered a “change of placement”. A change of placement invokes certain procedural protections under federal special education law and Section 504.
    • Prior to any removal that constitutes a change of placement, the school may convene a Team meeting to develop a plan for conducting a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) that will be used as the basis for developing specific strategies to address your child’s problematic behavior.
    • Prior to any removal that constitutes a change in placement, the school must inform you that the law requires the school district to consider whether or not the behavior that forms the basis of the disciplinary action is related to your child’s disability. This consideration is called a “manifestation determination”. Parents have a right to participate in this process. All relevant information will be considered including the IEP or Section 504 Plan, teacher observations, and evaluations reports.
    • At a manifestation determination meeting, the Team will consider:  Did the student’s disability cause or have a direct and substantial relationship to the conduct in question?  Was the conduct a direct result of the district’s failure to implement the IEP? If the manifestation determination decision is that the disciplinary action was related to the disability, then you child may not be removed from the current educational placement (unless under the special circumstances). The Team will review the IEP and Section 504 Plan and any behavioral intervention plans.
    • If the manifestation determination decision is that the disciplinary action was not related to the disability, then the school may suspend or otherwise discipline your child according to the school’s code of conduct. During the period of time of removal from school that exceeds 10 school days, the school district must provide educational services that allow your child to continue to make educational progress. For students with Section 504 Plans there is no automatic right to receive educational services beyond the 10th school day of suspension. 


    Special circumstances for exclusion 

    • Special circumstances exist if your child: possesses, uses, sells or solicits illegal drugs on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event; carries a weapon to school or a school-sponsored event; or inflicts serious bodily harm upon another person at school or a school-sponsored event. Under these circumstances, the TEAM may place your child in an interim alternate educational setting (IAE) for up to forty-five (45) school days. Your child may remain in this interim alternate setting for a period of time not to exceed forty-five (45) school days. Thereafter, your child will return to the previously agreed upon placement unless a hearing officer has ordered another placement, or you and the school agree to another placement. 
    • For students with Section 504 Plans, there is no automatic right to receive educational services beyond the tenth (10th) school day of suspension. School personnel will provide Parent’s Notice of Procedural Safeguards (Special Education) or Notice of Parent and Student Rights Under Section 504 for students with disabilities prior to any suspension exceeding ten (10) school days in one school year. These notices will provide an explanation of the process should there be disagreement regarding the manifestation determination or any placement decision. The parent, guardian and/or student may petition the Bureau of Special Education Appeals or the Office of Civil Rights (Section 504) for a hearing.

     

    For Students Not Yet Eligible

    A student who has not been determined to be eligible for special education and related services and who has engaged in behavior that violates any rule or code of conduct may assert any of the protections provided for under IDEA-2004 if Sudbury has knowledge that the student was a student with a disability before the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action occurred.  

    Sudbury shall be deemed to have knowledge that a student is a student with a disability if:

    • A parent has expressed written concern to supervisors/teachers that the student needs special education.
    • A parent has requested a special education evaluation.
    • A teacher or other personnel expressed specific concerns about a pattern of behavior directly to the special education director or other supervisory personnel. 

    Please note that Sudbury would not be deemed to have had prior knowledge under the following circumstances:

    • An evaluation of the student had been conducted and found the student not eligible for special education,  
    • A parent has not consented to an evaluation, or
    • A parent has not consented to special education services.

    If there is no reason to believe that the student is disabled and the parent requests an evaluation subsequent to disciplinary action, Sudbury will immediately evaluate the student, hold a TEAM meeting, and determine eligibility.  The evaluation will be completed within one week of the request.