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Public School Discipline and Children With Disabilities A Brief Guide for Parents

Authored By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (Hammond Office) LSC Funded
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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

students?

 

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:

Reprimands

Counseling

After-school sessions

Saturday sessions

Detentions

School bus or activity bans

 

More serious discipline can include:

Alternative Placements

Suspensions

Payment for damaged property

Reporting child as delinquent

Reporting crime to D.A.

Ordering drug or alcohol testing

or treatment

Restraint, isolation, or corporeal

punishment (within reason)

Expulsion

 

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

needs.

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

and expulsions.

 

My child is not on an IEP or 504

plan, but she keeps getting

suspended.

 

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

evaluated.

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

www.fhfjefferson.org.

 

Louisiana Parent Training and

Information Center website at

www.laptic.org

 

Louisiana Developmental

Disabilities Council website at:

www.lddc.org

 

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:

advocacycenter@advocacyla.org.

 

Legal Information available on

http://louisianalawhelp.org

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