We like to highlight the Toolbox around here on Tuesdays. The Toolbox is an all day training focused on the legal requirements for disciplining students with disabilities. Today we offer a case that illustrates one of the fundamental rules about special education discipline—there is a big difference between disciplinary actions that amount to a “change of placement” vs. those that don’t.
The case involved a teacher who required students to stand on a map of the U.S. during recess as a disciplinary measure. The student was disciplined in this way as many as five times. The court found this to be no big deal:
Plaintiffs provide no evidence from the record and no legal authority that suggests this form of discipline during recess deprived Timothy of a FAPE.
I’ve seen those big U.S. maps on the ground in school playgrounds. Seems to me that requiring a kid to stand on a particular state for a while might have some educational benefit. It might give the student a sense of how far it is from Seattle to Miami. I find it interesting that this case comes from a district called “Switzerland of Ohio Local School District.” You reckon they can ski there?
In any event, if it’s not a change of placement you don’t need to call an ARD meeting. Of course you should be sure that whatever disciplinary techniques your teachers use are consistent with your policy and conform with a student’s BIP, if there is one.
The case is Hupp v. Switzerland of Ohio Local School District, decided by the federal court for the Southern District of Ohio in 2012. We found it at 60 IDELR 63.
DAWG BONE: IF PEOPLE WOULD JUST RECITE THE SERENITY PRAYER THERE WOULD BE MUCH LESS LITIGATION.
Tomorrow: Teacher nonrenewal overturned by the Commish. This doesn’t happen often!