It’s Toolbox Tuesday!! What’s this about providing “FAPE” after “expulsion”? How can that be?

We highlight The Toolbox on Tuesdays around here. The Toolbox is an all-day program for campus administrators and special education staff. It’s all about the ten “tools” that you can use to appropriately serve students with disabilities who may be seriously disruptive or even violent.

Some of those students will commit offenses that are listed in Chapter 37 as expellable. In fact, some of those offenses are “mandatory expellable” offenses. What does that mean for a student in your special education program?

Three key points:  First, there is no such thing as “expulsion” for such a student in the traditional sense of the word “expulsion.” That word typically denotes a cessation of services of any kind for a significant period of time.  Under federal law, states must make FAPE—Free Appropriate Public Education—available to all children from 3 to 21 “including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school, as provided for in Section 300.530(d).”  Since federal law overrides state law, this means that there is no “expulsion to the street.”  The student with a disability who commits a mandatory expellable offense must still be served. FAPE must be available.

Second, the ARD Committee is the group that decides exactly how that will happen.  Texas is fortunate in that we already have DAEPs and, in our larger counties, JJAEPs that can normally provide the services that “expelled” students need.  But decisions about exactly where and how a student will continue to receive services must be decided by the ARDC on a case-by-case basis.

Third, the student is entitled to services that “enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the child’s IEP.”  Notice that this standard is not exactly the same as “FAPE.”

It’s close, but it’s not precisely the same standard.

These are things we talk about in the Toolbox training?  Interested?  Let me know!