It’s Toolbox Tuesday!! Why is it always “45 days”?

DEAR DAWG:  I’m new as an assistant principal. Still learning the ropes.  One thing I don’t understand is why special ed kids who commit certain offenses always get 45 days in the DAEP. We don’t handle the general ed students that way. We take each case on its own merits, and may differentiate based on a number of factors. But I’ve been told that if it’s a special ed kid and the offense involves drugs or weapons, they get 45 days.  Period.  Doesn’t make sense to me.  What do you say?  NEW GUY.

DEAR NEW GUY: Doesn’t make sense to me either. Nor is it legal to handle it the way you’ve been told.  Let’s go over Tool #5 again.  There are ten “tools” in the Toolbox.  Tool #5 involves the “special circumstances” offenses—drugs, weapons and the infliction of serious bodily injury.  If a student with a disability commits one of these offenses, you can use Tool #5—assigning the student to an “interim alternative educational setting” for UP TO 45 school days.  Please note: “UP TO.”  You always have to treat each case on its own merits, just as you do for the general ed students.  Also, you have to be sure that you are not imposing a consequence more harsh than your Code of Conduct would permit.  So when using Tool #5, we always recommend that you start by looking at your Code. What would you do if this were a general education student?  Don’t come down any harder on the special education kid. To do so would be a simple case of discrimination. Best of luck, NEW GUY.

Let me know if you are interested in a Toolbox Training. This is an all day program aimed at campus administrators and special education staff. We go over ten “tools” in detail, with a book, some laminated charts, hypotheticals to practice with and plenty of time for Q and A.  It’s all about providing appropriate services to every student, maintaining safety, and complying with the law.



Tomorrow: can I secretly record my conversation with the principal?