Toolbox Tuesday

There are a lot of details involving the school shooting in Florida that we still don’t know about.  I have heard a lot of stories about Mr. Cruz’s mental health issues, but I haven’t yet seen any definitive indication that he had been receiving special education services.  However, I’ve read numerous news stories indicating that he was expelled from school.

Let’s just assume that he was in the special education program.  If so, he could not be expelled “to the street.” Federal law (IDEA) requires that FAPE be available to all students with disabilities, including those who have been suspended or expelled from school. So if he was “expelled” it would have to be with some level of services.

Moreover, if the shooter was in the special education program, a manifestation determination would have to be done prior to any long term disciplinary change of placement.  There is no exception to this requirement just because people are afraid of the student.  There is no exception to this requirement when people have reason to be afraid of a student.

That’s what the Toolbox is all about.  The Toolbox is an all day training program focused on how schools can safely and properly educate dangerous and disruptive students, while maintaining a safe campus for everyone.  Incidents like the recent shooting remind us that schools are, these days, “places of special danger.”  Justice Alito made that observation in a Supreme Court opinion in 2007, and it certainly remains true today.

I wish I could promise that Toolbox training would prevent any future school shooting incidents.  No one can promise that.  But the Toolbox is designed to help you create the climate and the procedural structure for you to handle situations that could get dangerous. If you are interested in Toolbox training, please let me know.


Tommorrow: Who in your district is a “policymaker”?