The most important thing to understand about the relationship between FBAs and BIPs is that the findings of the FBA must ultimately be the foundation for the recommendations of the BIP. The FBA exists to identify why the child is acting the way he or she is, while the BIP considers the information that the FBA has gathered and then uses it to develop the best plan going forward.
An immensely important thing to understand about BIPs is that they should be structured to provide the student with tools to self-regulate. The objective of the BIP should not be to have a pre-determined faculty response to every troublesome behavior by a student. Rather, the primary objective should be to give the student a set of skills that will allow them to identify events that trigger a negative response from them, apply a productive approach to react to that trigger and then move past it. If there is too much of a focus on what faculty will do rather than on what the student will do, then the student may behave when in the presence of authority but revert back to problem behaviors in the absence of authority. Moreover, the student still hasn’t been given the skills necessary to deal with long-term behavioral issues.
That being said, BIPs also should be hierarchical, running from a series of lower-level interventions to more-involved interventions to traditional disciplinary interventions. Of course, you want problematic behaviors to stop before they even get started. Obviously, that won’t always happen. So the BIP needs to have a plan as to what will occur after lower-level interventions fail, which will happen. There is still room for traditional discipline when dealing with special education students.
Finally, a BIP is not just a piece of paper; it is a call to action – by the student, by the parents, by the faculty. What sometimes happens is that a BIP will be developed and make sense to everyone involved in its development, and then the BIP simply becomes a piece of paper. If that happens, then all the work that went into the FBA and BIP was for naught. Instead, the BIP should constantly be used. The student, his or her parents, his or her teachers and the disciplinarians in the building should have a copy of it and constantly refer to it. Everyone has to make sure that the plan is actually being followed. It probably is a good practice to have one person from the special education department who is highly familiar with the student function as the coordinator for the BIP. That person can always follow-up to make sure the BIP is being followed and take steps if it is not.