Toolbox Tuesday: the stay put rule….

The traditional stay put rule keeps a student in the “current educational placement” while the grown ups wrangle over a possible change of placement. We call it the “traditional” stay put rule because there is another one—a “disciplinary” stay put rule. You can look them up for yourself. The original stay put rule (the one we call “traditional”) is at 34 CFR 300.518. The disciplinary stay put rule is at 34 CFR 300.533. If the “disciplinary” rule applies, the student stays put, but not in the “current educational placement.” Instead, the student stays put in the “interim alternative educational setting” as designated by the ARD Committee.

For today, let’s think about how the traditional stay put rule should affect your thinking about a possible change of placement this late in the school year. Suppose that a teacher asks that a student be moved to a more restrictive setting due to a lot of disruption in the current setting. It’s clear to all that the student’s behavior is a direct result of the student’s disability, but still…the teacher is having a hard time working with the other students in the classroom due to this student’s behavior. Suppose that the school agrees with the teacher that a change of placement is called for. An ARD meeting is held to discuss the matter, and the parent adamantly opposes any change. What now?

Those who have been through Toolbox Training should now be thinking about Tool #3. With Tool #3 the school can make a change of placement to a more restrictive setting over parental opposition. But before pursuing that course of action, the school should talk to its lawyer about how the stay put rule plays out. This is not a disciplinary removal, since the behaviors are a manifestation of disability. That means the “traditional” stay put rule applies. That means the student is not going anywhere until after the special education due process hearing is decided.

It's April 4th. What are the chances that the special education due process decision will be issued before the end of the school year? Slim. So maybe it’s wiser to propose a change that would take place with the start of the next school year. In the meantime, collaborating with the parents about tweaks and adjustments that would be agreeable would be a good idea.

Interested in Toolbox Training? Let me hear from you. We are sure to have a few tweaks and adjustments to the Toolbox after the legislative session, but we can schedule now for next year.


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

Tomorrow: how much time do you need to consider your contract?