Toolbox Tuesday: Why do we do this?

The Daily Dawg has designated Tuesdays as Toolbox Tuesdays for many years now.  The Toolbox is our firm’s one-day training program that focuses on serving those few students in your special education program who are seriously disruptive, or even violent.  This is a situation that virtually every district in the country encounters, and so we think there is an ongoing need for reminders of the way the law guides decision making.  This being the final Toolbox Tuesday of the year, we offer a quick summary of the ten tools. 

  1.  A BIP. The most important tool, because it’s the only one designed to improve the student’s behavior. The BIP is not about what you might do TO a student—the Code of Conduct addresses that.  The BIP is about what the school will do FOR the student.
  2. Educational Change of Placement with Parental Agreement.  This will usually involve a move to what we call an MRE—More Restrictive Environment.  If it serves the student well, and is agreed to by the parent, it’s easily done.
  3. Educational Change of Placement Without Parental Agreement.  Here’s where the lawyers come in. This is a move to an MRE that the parent opposes.  How to navigate that? How does the “stay put” rule come into play?
  4. Seeking an Expedited Hearing.  The least frequently used tool because the circumstances that would justify its use are rare.
  5. Special Circumstances Removal.  A tool that belongs to the campus principal, ordering the immediate removal of a student based on one of three “special circumstances” offenses. But there are still some legal requirements and procedural steps that need to be taken.
  6. Disciplinary Change of Placement. This is about sending the student to the DAEP after providing due process and making a manifestation determination.  And about making sure the student continues to receive appropriate services.
  7. The FAPE-Free Zone.  Counting to ten.  This is the only time during the school year when FAPE-level services are not required. But there are still requirements under state law to consider.
  8. Short Term Removal After the FAPE-Free Zone. Contrary to conventional wisdom, campus principals are not powerless after the student’s 10th day of removal. But there are procedural and substantive issues to be addressed. This is the most complicated tool in the Toolbox.
  9. Leadership at the Non-Consensus ARD Meeting.  Can you bring the meeting to closure, even when there is a lack of consensus?  This is an essential skill.
  10. Calling in Law Enforcement.  The last tool in the box is sometimes the first tool we reach for.  But it should be reserved for genuine issues of security or criminal conduct. Routine discipline should be handled by educators, not cops.

We will continue to offer Toolbox Tuesdays next year.  So look for the first Toolbox Tuesday of 2022 on January 4th!


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Tomorrow: Some Suggestions!!