Before a student on an IEP or a 504 Plan has a change in placement, a manifestation determination meeting normally is held.
Within 10 days of a decision to change the placement of a child on an IEP, the IEP team must have a manifestation determination meeting. Normally, this occurs when the student has been recommended for expulsion. At the manifestation determination, the IEP team must review all relevant information in the child’s IEP, any teacher observations and any relevant information provided by the parents to determine:
1. If the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child’s disability; or
2. If the conduct in question was the direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP.
If the answer is “yes” to either question, then the student may not be expelled or otherwise removed from the regular education setting – unless the parent agrees to such a removal (which is extremely unlikely). At this point, an FBA (Functional Behavior Assessment) and accompanying BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan) should be developed. If that has already happened, then the BIP should be modified to address the problem behaviors.
If, on the other hand, the answer is “no” to both questions, then the special education student may be disciplined in the same manner as any other non-disabled student.
The rule essentially is the same for students on a 504 plan. A student on a 504 may not be removed from their regular educational setting for behavior that is a manifestation of their disability. See S-1 v. Turlington, 635 F.2d 342 (5th Cior. 1981). Therefore, a manifestation determination must take place if a student is facing expulsion.