School discipline for students with learning disabilities is often a stressful time for the student and his parents. Students who have been diagnosed with a learning disability are given an I.E.P. (Individualized Education Program) if they attend a public or charter school during grade school, middle school, or high school. If that student allegedly commits a rules violation and, as a result, the school seeks a change of placement (i.e. suspension for ten days or expulsion), the student is entitled to certain procedural safeguards.
One of those safeguards is known as the manifestation hearing. Essentially, it is the most important procedure during the disciplinary process. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether the rules violation was a direct result of the student’s disability or substantially related to the student’s disability. If it is determined that the violation directly resulted from or was substantially related to the child’s learning disability (hence the child’s disability manifested into a rules violation) then the school cannot punish the student or seek change of placement. If, however, it is determined that the violation was not a manifestation of the disability, the school may punish the child according to the school handbook in any way it could punish a student without a disability.
If your son or daughter has been diagnosed with a disability and is facing possible discipline for an alleged rules violation, please contact the attorneys at the Kelly Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your rights.