Public School Discipline and Children With Disabilities A Brief Guide for Parents
Authored By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (Hammond Office)
Information Public School Discipline and Children with Disabilities: A Brief Guide for Parents
Public School Discipline and Children with Disabilities: A Brief Guide for Parents
When can schools discipline
Schools can discipline students who
violate the law or school rules, either at
school, traveling to or from school, or
at school-sponsored activities or
functions. Know school rules!
What kind of things can the school
do to my child?
Public schools can discipline in many
different ways. Schools can give:
School bus or activity bans
More serious discipline can include:
Payment for damaged property
Reporting child as delinquent
Reporting crime to D.A.
Ordering drug or alcohol testing
Restraint, isolation, or corporeal
punishment (within reason)
Can the school discipline my child
who has a disability?
Maybe. Having a disability doesn’t
protect a child from all consequences.
But, the school must first see if your
child misbehaved because of the
disability, or because the school failed
to properly implement an IEP or 504
plan. This is called a “manifestation
determination.” If that’s why your
child misbehaved, then the school is
not supposed to make a “significant
change in placement.” Instead, it
should re-evaluate your child’s IEP or
504 plan, to better serve your child’s
You have the right to appeal a
“significant change in placement” by
the school. You have the right to
appeal the school’s decision that your
child’s misbehavior was not caused by
his disability or the school’s failure to
implement his IEP or 504 plan. You
have the right to appeal suspensions
My child is not on an IEP or 504
plan, but she keeps getting
Behavior problems at school can mean
that your child has a health problem
that has not been diagnosed, or that
needs different treatment. If you think
your child may have a disability, or
need medical care, have your child
You can also ask the school to evaluate
your child for special education
services. If your child has a 504 plan
or IEP, you can ask the school to reevaluate
it. These plans should help
your child get an education. If it’s not
working, it should be changed.
My child seems to be punished
because the principal doesn’t like
me. What can I do?
In a public school, you can appeal
unfair or wrong discipline. Talk with
an advocacy group. Maybe they can
help mend fences with the school. If
not, talk with a lawyer.
Where Can I Get Help?
Families Helping Families Networks.
Find your local group at
Louisiana Parent Training and
Information Center website at
Disabilities Council website at:
Advocacy Center for the Elderly
and Disabled, a statewide free legal
services program. Call 1-800-960-
7705 or 1-855-861-3577 (TTY) or
visit their website at:
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