Dear Dawg: I know that our principals can suspend a student with a disability for up to ten school days during the year, cumulatively. I heard you call this the “FAPE Free Zone.” Well, we had a discussion about this at our special education staff meeting and a question came up. We have a student who will probably not be suspended at all this year. He’s a model student and has never been written up by a teacher, much less suspended. So we expect that he will not use any of his “FAPE Free” days on discipline. But we were wondering if we could use his “FAPE Free” days for a little experimentation. We’d like to move him out of his current placement, just for a little while, to see how he does in other settings. We’d prefer to do this without involving the parent. It would only be for a few days—no more than ten. We’d still be serving him, but not in the way or in the setting called for by his IEP. We get 10 days, right? Can we do this for 10 days? FORWARD THINKER.
DEAR FORWARD THINKER: No!
And I think I will leave it at that. Wise people have told me that “no” is a complete sentence. But I will only add that if you want to know more about how the FFZ works, and why it should not be used in this way, you might be interested in a Toolbox Training. If so, let me hear from you.
DAWG BONE: FAPE FREE ZONE IS ABOUT DISCIPLINARY REMOVALS, NOT “EXPERIMENTATION.”
Tomorrow: if the doc prescribes physical therapy does the school have to provide it?