Toolbox Tuesday and the school shutdown….

Among the many questions coming up in connection with the forced school shutdown due to the Coronavirus are a few questions about student discipline.  Like this one: if a student was “serving time” in DAEP when we were ordered to shut down, must the student complete “the sentence” when school resumes?

The Toolbox, which is an all day training program about the discipline of students with disabilities, offers no direct answer to that question.  We are obviously in unexpected and uncharted territory.   In situations like this, we go back to the basics.  One of the basics of the law is that local districts follow the direction of the state agency.  So if TEA offers guidance on this, you should follow it.  But more likely than not, this will be a local decision to be decided by local administrators interpreting and applying your school policy.  Here’s another basic: your interpretation of your own policy will be respected by the courts, as long as it is “reasonable.”

Here is one more basic rule: you always have the discretion to take into account extraordinary circumstances and make decisions that are in the best educational interests of the students you serve. Will it do any good for the student to “serve the time”?  What is best for the student and the student body as a whole?  Let those “basics” guide your decision making.  


Tomorrow:  Six years from now...