Toolbox Tuesday!! What Tools are available with behavior that is a manifestation of disability?

In our firm’s Toolbox Training we present 10 “tools” that are available to deal with disruptive behaviors from students with disabilities.  The law requires the school to address any behavior of the student that “impedes the learning” of the student or others.  Many of the behaviors that impede learning are caused by the student’s disability. What tools are available in that case?

All of them, except for Tool #6, which is a Disciplinary Change of Placement.  Tools #2 and #3 involve a change of placement to a more restrictive environment (MRE).  Moving a student to a more restrictive environment should always be based on the nature or severity of the student’s disability.  The idea of the MRE is that the student needs services that can only be provided in the MRE.

Tool #4 is about seeking an expedited hearing out of safety concerns. Those safety concerns would normally arise out of concern over behaviors that are caused by the student’s disability.  If they weren’t, the school would use Tool #6. 

Tool #5 is about a removal due to the special circumstances of drugs, weapons, and the infliction of serious bodily injury. The law specifically permits the use of Tool #5 when the behavior is a manifestation. 

Tool #7 is the removal of the student while in the FAPE-Free Zone—the ten days in which campus administrators have unilateral authority.  A manifestation determination is not necessary because these short term removals do not create a change of placement.

Tool #8 is a short term removal, ordered by a campus administrator, after the FAPE-Free Zone.  Services must be provided to the student, which is what distinguishes it from Tool #7.  It cannot be used if the cumulative actions taking during the year create a change of placement, which would require a manifestation determination. So if Tool #8 is used properly, there is no change of placement, no manifestation determination. 

Tool #9 is about leadership at the ARD meeting.  That’s required for all students at all times.

Tool #10 involves bringing in law enforcement. This can be done at administrator discretion, even if the underlying behavior is caused by disability. This tool is used for safety purposes. 

And then there is Tool #1, which is #1 for a reason. The creation and implementation of a behavior plan (BIP) is the most important tool, as it is the only one designed to encourage an improvement in student behavior.  Obviously, this might be used to address behaviors that are caused by the student’s disability.

Toolbox 4.1, incorporating the latest changes in state law, is at the printing press. Let us know if you are interested in learning more.


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Tomorrow: is a charter school a public school?