On Tuesdays we like to highlight the Toolbox—a full day training program focusing on students with disabilities and the options available to educators in addressing disruptive or violent misconduct. We call it the Toolbox because we provide ten “tools” that administrators can employ. Two of those tools involve an educational “change of placement.”
This is the type of thing that might come up at about this time of year. Suppose that Rebecca began the year in a general education, mainstream setting. The ARD Committee was confident that Rebecca’s serious emotional disturbance would not lead to any serious problems in that setting. There was a teacher’s aide in the classroom, and the inclusion teacher came in regularly to provide support.
But now that we are in mid-October we can see that things are not going as well as expected. Rebecca has been sent to the office numerous times. The teacher has faithfully implemented the IEP and the BIP, but Rebecca’s behavior is not improving. The teacher is frustrated and convinced that Rebecca’s behavior is problematic for the entire class. If a general education student engaged in the same behavior the district would assign the student to the DAEP for a while as a disciplinary consequence. But everyone acknowledges that Rebecca’s behavior is a manifestation of her disability. What to do?
The Toolbox provides two “tools” that might be appropriate in this situation. We call them both “educational” changes of placement. Tool #2 is an educational change of placement with parental agreement. So if Rebecca’s parents are in agreement with the other members of the ARD Committee that a change of placement is appropriate, the ARD Committee can make that change. Tool #3 is an educational change of placement without parental agreement.
Would Tool #3 be appropriate in this case? We don’t have enough information to answer that question. But we know that before the district uses either of these tools, it should first use Tool #1—reviewing and revising the student’s BIP. The goal is to keep the student in the least restrictive environment—the general education classroom—if at all possible. Are there other supplementary aids and services we can use? Should we update our evaluation information about Rebecca, possibly conducting a new Functional Behavioral Assessment? We made Tool #1 the first tool in the Toolbox for a reason. It’s the most important and the most useful of the tools.
I hope that gives you a general idea of how the Toolbox training works. If interested in this, let me hear from you!
DAWG BONE: DON’T BE TOO QUICK TO CALL FOR A CHANGE OF PLACEMENT.
File this one under: SPECIAL EDUCATION DISCIPLINE
Tomorrow: Another “sex with student” lawsuit.