Toolbox Tuesday!! Let’s talk about IAES

We’re using our Toolbox Tuesdays to review the updated Q and A from the Department of Education regarding the disciplinary options for students with disabilities. This week we are looking at Section D in the Q and A which is all about Interim Alternative Educational Settings (IAES). 

What is an IAES?  Question D-1 tells us that it is:

An appropriate setting determined by the child’s IEP Team or a hearing officer in which the child is placed for no more than 45 school days. This setting enables the child to continue to receive educational services so as to enable them to participate in the general education curriculum (although in another setting) and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the IEP. As appropriate, the setting includes a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), and behavior intervention services and modifications to address the behavior violation so that it does not recur.

In Toolbox terminology, an IAES comes up when the school uses Tool #4, Tool #5, Tool #6 or Tool #8. 

*Tool #4 would involve a hearing officer or court ordering a student to an IAES upon request for an expedited hearing by the school.  When using Tools #5, #6 or #8, however, it’s the IEP Team (ARD) that selects the IAES for a particular student.

*Tool #5 would involve a campus administrator ordering the removal of a student to an IAES due to a “special circumstances” offense (drugs, weapons, serious bodily injury).

*Tool #6 would involve the selection of an IAES by the IEP Team (ARD) after a student has committed a violation of the Code of Conduct that was not a manifestation of disability.  This is not limited to 45 school days, but can be “for the same duration” that would be applied to a general education student.

*Tool #8 involves a short term assignment of a student after the 10-day “FAPE-Free Zone” days are exhausted. As the Q and A tell us “During any subsequent days of removal, the public agency must provide services and may do so in an IAES.”

The IAES must be designed to “enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum” and “to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the child’s IEP.”   Like most things in IDEA-land, this decision has to be based on the student’s unique situation and the services called for in the IEP.  Members of an ARD Committee should not choose an IAES without first reviewing the student’s IEP to ensure that the student’s annual goals will still be attainable while the student is served in the IAES. 

Does your DAEP meet that standard?  If not, you may need to bolster or support the DAEP to make sure it will enable student progress.

The Q and A does not rule out the use of the home as an IAES, but it is strongly discouraged, and it seems clear that if used at all, it should be very short term. The Q and A does note that “Virtual home instruction or hybrid instruction could be additional options” for the ARD to consider, but the document includes this reminder:

SEAs and LEAs should be cautious about excluding a child with a disability from the regular educational program to provide virtual instruction for the sole purpose of responding to a child’s behavior. Removing a child from the regular education program without ensuring behavioral supports have been made available throughout a continuum of placements, including in a regular education setting, could result in an overly restrictive placement and denial of FAPE.


Got a question or comment for the Dawg?  Let me hear from you at

Tomorrow: a look at an obscure statute in the Texas Education  Code….