Toolbox Tuesday!! An Arkansas district goes for an “expedited hearing.”

Tuesdays here at the Daily Dawg belong to the Toolbox. This is a one-day training program designed for campus administrators and special education staff who serve those students with disabilities who present challenging behaviors.  One of the ten tools (Tool #4) is a request for an expedited hearing seeking the temporary removal of a potentially dangerous student.  We don’t see this tool used a lot, but I recently came across a case from Texarkana, Arkansas, in which a school district successfully used Tool #4.

The school district was in the process of doing an FBA (Functional Behavioral Assessment) to revise the student’s BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan), but it was taking longer than expected. Meanwhile, they were very concerned about safety.  The student was identified as emotionally disturbed.   His existing BIP indicated that the behavior of his that impeded learning was “Explosive behaviors toward peers and staff.”

And that’s what they were seeing.  Records indicated that the student had pulled a knife on family members, threatened to kill people, brought weapons to school and pushed and shoved staff members.  On November 4, 2015 the student pushed another student to the ground on the playground.  Later, in the principal’s office, the student started slapping and kicking the same student. Several employees intervened.

There was another incident a month later when the student made “several serious threats” to kill staff and others, and slapped, hit, bit and kicked a teacher.

The law allows districts to remove students unilaterally for only ten days during the course of a school year.  In this case, the district wanted the student removed for longer than that. The school proposed removal to an IAES (Interim Alternative Educational Setting) for 45 school days.

Based on the evidence, showing that the student was “substantially likely” to injure someone if he remained in the current placement, the hearing officer ordered the student removed to the IAES for 45 school days.  That’s the standard that the school has to satisfy to be successful in an expedited hearing.

So it can be done.  It’s a rare set of circumstances that requires the use of Tool #4. You have to have a strong case that the student is likely to hurt someone, and a situation in which other tools are not available.  If the behavior was not a manifestation of disability, the school could use Tool #6—a Disciplinary Change of Placement. If you had parental agreement you could use Tool #2—a Change of Placement with Agreement. If a weapon had been used, or “serious” bodily injury inflicted you could use Tool #5—A Special Circumstances removal. But here, none of those tools were available, and so the school sought help via Tool #4—an Expedited Hearing.

The case is Texarkana (Ark) School District, decided by the hearing officer for the State of Arkansas on March 3, 2016. We found it at 67 IDELR 277.


Tomorrow: Can an employee be forced to take a drug test?