It’s Toolbox Tuesday!! The kid brought drugs to school. Are we supposed to write a BIP?

In The Toolbox we provide a full day training program outlining ten “tools” available to school personnel when dealing with challenging, disruptive, maybe even violent student behavior. One of the tools—Tool #5—authorizes the principal to order the removal of a student for up to 45 school days to an “interim alternative educational setting” (IAES). But this tool can only be used in “special circumstances.” There are three circumstances the law considers “special.” They are 1) possession or use of a dangerous weapon; 2) possession, use, sale or solicitation of a controlled substance; and 3) the infliction of a serious bodily injury. So when you tell me that a student has brought drugs to school, I start thinking about Tool #5. After due process is provided and the facts have been established, the principal can use Tool #5 to order a removal from the placement called for by the IEP to an IAES. Of course the principal can call in law enforcement also—we call that Tool #10.

But in the Toolbox Training we recommend that the principal should not limit herself to those two tools. Let’s think about Tool #1—the development of a BIP—a Behavior Intervention Plan. Members of each student’s ARD Committee are required to ask themselves at each annual ARD meeting if the student has behaviors that impede learning of the student or others. If the answer is “yes,” then the ARD Committee should proceed to consider what interventions, strategies and supports might be useful in addressing those behaviors. Often this leads to the development of a BIP.

This question must be asked at least once a year at the annual ARD meeting. But we think it should be asked at other times as well. That kid who brought drugs to school…what’s going to happen next? Did you call in law enforcement? Is he going to now have a criminal record? Would you describe the behavior of bringing drugs to school as “impeding” the learning of the student or others? I would.

So why not pull three tools out of the toolbox—Tool #5 for an immediate removal, Tool #10 to bring in law enforcement, and Tool #1 for consideration of how we can prevent this type of behavior in the future.

That’s the kind of thing we talk about in the Toolbox Training. I’m doing a Toolbox Training in Region 6 on December 6, and a few more scheduled in other ESCs for 2017 so far. If interested, let me hear from you.