Toolbox Tuesday!! Section L of the DOE’s Q and A

This is the final Toolbox Tuesday devoted to the DOE’s Q and A regarding student discipline. Today we look at Section L, which is about the responsibilities of state agencies.  Under IDEA the state agency, T.E.A., has the overall responsibility to ensure that a FAPE is available to all eligible children.  To carry out that responsibility, T.E.A. and the other state agencies monitor, review, hear complaints, set up due process procedures, and collect data. Boy Howdy, do they collect data.

If you get frustrated with the sheer volume of data you are required to maintain and report, don’t blame the good folks working at T.E.A.  This all comes from the federal government. Moreover, the purpose of all that data collection is a good one—it reveals problems that need to be addressed.

Discipline is an area of particular concern, as revealed in the answer to Question L-1: 

The inappropriate use of suspension, expulsion, and other exclusionary removals significantly limits the ability of children with disabilities to receive educational benefit consistent with their IEPs. Therefore, SEAs should pay particular attention to LEA and Statewide discipline data and discipline policies, procedures, and practices when exercising their general supervisory responsibilities.

It's all required by IDEA, including the disaggregation of data to explore possible “significant disproportionality” in the way discipline is applied to students based on race and ethnicity.

There is one final section in the Q and A but it’s a Glossary and is not deemed Dawgworthy. So we’re done with this. Next Tuesday we return to telling you about interesting cases that reflect how the ten tools in The Toolbox work in practice.


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

Tomorrow: a lengthy due process hearing in Mississippi….