The Board recognizes that it may be necessary to suspend, remove or otherwise discipline students with disabilities to address disruptive or problem behavior. The Board also recognizes that students with disabilities enjoy certain procedural protections whenever school authorities intend to impose discipline upon them. The Board is committed to ensuring that the procedures followed for suspending, removing or otherwise disciplining students with disabilities are consistent with the procedural safeguards required by applicable laws and regulations.
This Code of Conduct affords students with disabilities subject to disciplinary action no greater or lesser rights than those expressly afforded by applicable federal and state law and regulations.
Authorized Suspensions or Removals of Students with Disabilities
For purposes of this section of the Code of Conduct, the following definitions apply:
- A “suspension” means a suspension pursuant to Education Law S3214.
- A “removal” means a removal for disciplinary reasons from the student’s current educational placement other than a suspension and change in placement to an interim alternative education setting (IAES) ordered by an impartial hearing officer because the student poses a risk of harm to himself or herself or others.
- An “IEAS” means a temporary educational placement for a period of up to 45 days, other than the student’s current placement at the time the behavior precipitating the IAES placement occurred. This enables the student to continue to progress in the general curriculum, although in another setting. The student will continue to receive services and modifications as described in the student’s current individualized education program (IEP). The student will also receive services and modifications to address the behavior precipitating the IAES placement. These services and modifications are designed to prevent the behavior from recurring.
School personnel may order the suspension or removal of a student with a disability from his or her current education placement as follows:
- The Board, the district (BOCES) superintendent of schools or a building principal may order the placement of a student with a disability into an IAES, another setting or suspension for a period not to exceed the amount of time a non-disabled student would be subject to suspension for the same behavior.
- The superintendent may order the placement of a student with a disability into an IAES, or suspension for up to 10 consecutive school days (inclusive of any period in which the student has been suspended or removed for the same behavior), if the superintendent deter-mines that the student has engaged in behavior that warrants a suspension. This suspension or removal will not exceed the amount of time non-disabled students would be subject to suspension for the same behavior.
- The superintendent may order additional suspensions of not more than 10 consecutive school days in the same school year for separate incidents of misconduct, as long as those removals do not constitute a change of placement.
- The superintendent may order the placement of a student with a disability in an IAES for the same amount of time that a student without a disability would be subject to discipline, but not more than 45 days, if the student carries or possesses a weapon to school or to a school function, or the student knowingly possess or uses illegal drugs or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function.
1. “Weapon” means the same as “dangerous weapon” under 18 U.S.C. S930 (g) (w) which includes “a weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury, except . . . (for) a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.”
2. “Controlled substance” means a drug or other substance identified in certain provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act specified in both federal and state law and regulations applicable to this policy.
3. “Illegal drugs” means a controlled substance except for those legally possessed or used under the supervision of a licensed health-care professional or that is legally possessed or used under any other authority under the Controlled Substances Act or any other federal law.
Subject to specified conditions required by both federal and state law regulations, an impartial hearing officer may order the placement of a student with a disability in an IAES setting for up to 45 days at a time, if maintaining the student in his or her current educational placement poses a risk of harm to the student or others.
Change of Placement Rule
1. A disciplinary change in placement means a suspension or removal from a student’s current educational placement that is either:
A. for more than 10 consecutive school days; or
B. for a period of 10 consecutive school days or less if the student is subjected to a series of suspensions or removals that constitute a pattern because they accumulate to more than 10 school days in a school year and because of such factors as the length of each suspension or removal, the total amount of time the student is removed and the proximity of the suspensions or removals to one another.
2. School personnel may not suspend or remove a student with disabilities if imposition of the suspension or removal would result in a disciplinary change in placement based on a pattern of suspension or removal.
However, the district may impose a suspension or removal, which would otherwise result in a disciplinary change in placement, based on a pattern of suspensions or removals if the CSE has determined that the behavior was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, or the student is placed in an IAES for behavior involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances.
a. The superintendent, building principal or other school official imposing a suspension or removal shall be responsible for determining whether the student is a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes.
b. A student will not be considered a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes if, upon receipt of information supporting a claim that the district had knowledge the student was a student with a disability, the district either:
1. Conducted an individual evaluation and determined that the student is not a student with a disability, or
2. Determined that an evaluation was not necessary and provided notice to the parent of such determination, in the manner required by applicable law and regulations. If there is no basis for knowledge that the student is a student with a disability prior to taking disciplinary measures against the student, the student may be subjected to the same disciplinary measures as any other non-disabled student who engaged in comparable behaviors.
However, if a request for an individual evaluation is made while such a nondisabled student is subjected to a disciplinary removal, an expedited evaluation shall be conducted and completed in the manner prescribed by applicable federal and state law and regulations. Until the expedited evaluation is completed, the non-disabled student, who is not a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes, shall remain in the educational placement determined by the district, which can include suspension.
3. The district shall provide the parent with notice of disciplinary removal no later than the date on which a decision is made to change the placement of a student with a disability to an IAES for either misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances or because maintaining the student in his/her cur-rent educational setting poses a risk of harm to the student or others; or a decision is made to impose a suspension or removal that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement.
The procedural safeguards notice prescribed by the Commissioner shall accompany the notice of disciplinary removal.
4. The parent of a student with disabilities subject to a suspension of five consecutive school days or less shall be provided with the same opportunity for an informal conference available to parents of non-disabled students under the Education Law.
5. Superintendent hearings on disciplinary charges against students with disabilities subject to a suspension of more than five school days shall be bifurcated into a guilt phase and penalty phase in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Commissioner’s regulations incorporated into this code.
6. The removal of a student with disabilities, other than a suspension or placement in an IAES, shall be conducted in accordance with the due process procedures applicable to such removals of non-disabled students, except that school personnel may not impose such removal for more than 10 consecutive days or for a period that would result in a disciplinary change in placement, unless the CSE has determined that the behavior is not a manifestation of the student’s disability.
7. During any period of suspension or removal, including placement in an IAES, students with disabilities shall be provided services as required by the Commissioner’s regulations incorporated into this code.
Expedited Due Process Hearings
1. An expedited due process hearing shall be conducted in the manner specified by the Commissioner’s regulations incorporated into this code, if:
a. The district requests such a hearing to obtain an order of an impartial hearing officer placing a student with a disability in an IAES where school personnel maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in his or her current educational placement, or during the pendency of due process hearings where school personnel maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in his or her current educational placement during such proceedings.
b. The parent requests such a hearing from a determination that the student’s behavior was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, or relating to any decision regarding placement, including but not limited to, any decision to place the student in an IAES.
1. During the dependency of any expedited due process hearing or appeal regarding the placement of a student in an IAES for behavior involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances, or on grounds of dangerousness, or regarding a determination that the behavior is not a manifestation of the student’s disability for a student who has been placed in an IAES, the student shall remain in the IAES pending the decision of the impartial hearing officer or until expiration of the IAES placement, whichever occurs first, unless the parents and the district agree otherwise.
2. If school personnel propose to change the student’s placement after expiration of an IAES placement, during the pendency of any proceeding to challenge the proposed change in placement, the student shall remain in the placement prior to removal to the IAES, except where the student is again placed in an IAES.
3. An expedited due process hearing shall be completed within 15 business days of receipt of the request for a hearing. Although the impartial hearing officer may grant specific extensions of such time period, he or she must mail a written decision to the district and the parents within five business days after the last hearing date, and in no event later than 45 calendar days after receipt of the request for a hearing, without exceptions or extensions
Referral to Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities
In accordance with the provisions of IDEA and its implementing regulations:
1. The district may report a crime committed by a child with a disability to appropriate authorities, and such action will not constitute a change of the student’s placement.
2. The superintendent shall ensure that copies of the special education and disciplinary records of a student with disabilities are transmitted for consideration to the appropriate authorities to whom a crime is reported.