You should not rush into the manifestation determination process. ARD Committees are responsible for deciding if a student’s behavior is a manifestation of the student’s disability. This is not always a simple matter, and even when it appears to be simple, the ARD is well advised to take enough time to be sure that the process is done “carefully and thoroughly.” We put those words in quotes because they come directly from the report of the House-Senate Conference Committee that gave final approval to the language of the law.
Here are the comments of the Conference Committee on this subject in full, with emphasis added by me:
The Conferees intend to assure that the manifestation determination is done carefully and thoroughly with consideration of any rare or extraordinary circumstances presented. Additionally, it is the intention of the Conferees that when a student has violated a code of conduct school personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis to determine to whether a change of placement for discipline purposes is appropriate. The Conferees intend that if a change in placement is proposed, the manifestation determination will analyze the child’s behavior as demonstrated across settings and across time when determining whether the conduct in question is a direct result of the disability.
The Conferees intend that in situations where the local educational agency, the parent and the relevant members of the IEP team determine that the conduct was the direct result of the child’s disability, a child with a disability should not be subject to discipline in the same manner as a non-disabled child.
Conferees intend that in order to determine that the conduct in question was a manifestation of the child's disability, the local educational agency, the parent and the relevant members of the IEP team must determine the conduct in question be the direct result of the child's disability. It is intention of the Conferees that the conduct in question was caused by, or has a direct and substantial relationship to, the child's disability, and is not an attenuated association, such as low self-esteem, to the child's disability.