Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is a process for addressing student problem behaviors, the settings under which the problem behaviors may or may not be observed, and the function (the why) of the problem behaviors. This information is obtained by collecting data from direct observation and is used to develop an effective plan to reduce the frequency or severity of the problem behavior. A behavior intervention plan (BIP) is developed and implemented, if appropriate. A functional behavioral assessment should be integrated, as appropriate, throughout the process of developing, reviewing, and, if necessary, revising a student’s IEP.
Suspensions of Students for More Than 10 Days: In the case of a student with a disability a suspension of more than 10 days (or a suspension that would, with previous suspensions that year, total more than ten days) or expulsion (which is viewed as a change of placement) requires an emergency Team meeting. The purpose of this Team meeting is to make a manifestation determination. Meeting attendees shall include the parent, student, and relevant LMACS personnel (as determined by the parent and the district). The meeting must convene within 10 days of the decision to suspend the students. The members of the Team shall review all relevant information in the student’s file, including the IEP, teacher observations, and any relevant information provided by the parents to determine if the conduct in question was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability or was the direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP. If any of those circumstances are found, long-term suspension or expulsion may not be imposed.
The IEP Team must determine if there is a relationship between the school discipline policy violation and the student’s disability in order to make decisions about the consequence for the misconduct as well as the student’s continuing educational and behavioral needs.
The IEP Team considers all relevant information, including evaluation/diagnostic results, observations of the student, and the student’s IEP and placement.
The Team must determine:
- Is the IEP appropriate, including the BIP?
- Is the IEP implemented as written, including appropriate behavior management procedures?
- Did the disability prevent the student from understanding the impact and consequences of the behavior in question?
- Did the disability prevent the student from controlling the behavior in question?
In summary, the behavior is not a manifestation of the disability if the Team determines that:
- The current IEP and placement are appropriate
- The student has the ability to understand the consequences of the behavior
- The student has the ability to control behavior
If LMACS personnel, the parent, and other relevant members of the Team determine that the behavior is NOT a manifestation of the disability, then the suspension or expulsion may go forward consistent with policies applied to any student without disabilities, expect that the district must still offer:
- services to enable the student, although in another setting, to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward IEP goals; and
- as appropriate, a functional behavioral assessment and behavioral intervention services and modifications, to address the behavior so that it does not recur.
Interim Alternative Educational Setting: Regardless of the manifestation determination, the district may place the student in an interim alternative educational setting (as determined by the Team) for up to 45 school days.
- on its own authority if the behavior involves weapons or illegal drugs or another controlled substance or the infliction of serious bodily injury on another person while at school or a school function, or considered case by case, unique circumstances; or
- on the authority of a hearing officer if the officer orders the alternative placement after the district provides evidence that the student is “substantially likely” to injure themselves or others.
In either case, the interim alternative education setting enables the student to continue in the general curriculum and to continue receiving services identified on the IEP, and provides services to address the problem behavior. LMACS’ Education Service Plan is subject to change, and may include, but is not limited to, tutoring, alternative placement, Saturday school, and online or distance learning.
If LMACS personnel, the parent, and other relevant members of the Team determine that the behavior IS a manifestation of the disability, then the Team completes a functional behavioral assessment and behavioral intervention plan if it has not already done so. If a behavioral intervention plan is already in place, the Team reviews it and modifies it, as necessary, to address the behavior. Except when he or she has been placed in an interim alternative educational setting, the student returns to the original placement unless the parents and district agree otherwise or the hearing officer orders a new placement.
Not later than the date of the decision to take disciplinary action, the school district notifies the parents of that decision and provides them with the written notice of procedural safeguards. If the parent chooses to appeal or the school district requests a hearing because it believes that maintaining the student’s current placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or others, the student remains in the disciplinary placement, if any, until the decision of the hearing officer or the end of the time period for the disciplinary action, whichever comes first, unless the parent and the school district agree otherwise.
- If a request is made for an evaluation of a child during the time period in which the child is subjected to disciplinary measures under § 300.530, the evaluation must be conducted in an expedited manner.
- (ii) Until the evaluation is completed, the child remains in the educational placement determined by school authorities, which can include suspension or expulsion without educational services.
- (iii) If the child is determined to be a child with a disability, taking into consideration information from the evaluation conducted by the agency and information provided by the parents, the agency must provide special education and related services.
Manifestation Determination: Within 10 school days of decision to change placement, the district, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP Team review relevant information and make a manifestation determination (MD)
Does the conduct have a direct and substantial relationship to the student’s disability? OR is it the direct result of the district’s failure to implement the IEP?
Special Circumstances: Student carries or possesses a weapon to or at school, on school premises, or to or at a school function under the jurisdiction of a State or local educational agency (LEA); knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs, or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance, while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of a State or local educational agency; or has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of a State or local educational agency.
Serious Bodily Injury: Serious bodily injury is defined as bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.
In case of serious bodily injury, the Team must conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment and Manifestation Determination. The Hearing Officer can extend the 45-day period.
The Hearing Officer may order a 45-calendar day placement in an interim alternative educational placement if the District proves that the presence of the student poses a danger. Danger is considered as:
- Likeliness to result in injury to the student or others
- Appropriateness of the student’s current placement
- Reasonable efforts made to minimize risk of harm
- The interim Alternative Education Placement meets requirements – access to curriculum and program designed to address behavior
The Charter School uses interim alternative educational settings when students are removed from their current placement.
When a student with a disability is reported to the police for an alleged crime, special education and disciplinary records must be furnished to the police.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Regulations at 34 CFR § 300.529 state the following:
Nothing in this part prohibits an agency from reporting a crime committed by a child with a disability to appropriate authorities or to prevent State law enforcement and judicial authorities from exercising their responsibilities with regard to the application of Federal and State law to crimes committed by a child with a disability.
An agency reporting a crime committed by a child with a disability shall ensure that copies of the special education and disciplinary records of the child are transmitted for consideration by the appropriate authorities to which it reports the crime.
An agency reporting a crime under this section may transmit copies of the child’s special education and disciplinary records only to the extent that the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act permit the transmission. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1415(k)(9))
Procedural Requirements Applied to Students Not Yet Determined to be Eligible for Special Education
- If, prior to the disciplinary action, LMACS had knowledge that the student may be a student with a disability, then the charter school will make all protections available to the student until and unless the student is subsequently determined not to be eligible. LMACS may be considered to have prior knowledge if:
- The parent had expressed concern in writing; or
- The parent had requested an evaluation; or
- LMACS staff had expressed directly to the special education coordinator or other supervisory personnel specific concerns about a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the student.
LMACS may not be considered to have had prior knowledge if the parent has not consented to evaluation of the student or has refused special education services, or if an evaluation of the student has resulted in a determination of ineligibility.
- If LMACS had no reason to consider the student disabled, and the parent requests an evaluation subsequent to the disciplinary action, LMACS has procedures consistent with federal requirements to conduct an expedited evaluation to determine eligibility.
- If the student is found eligible, then they receives all procedural protections subsequent to the finding of eligibility.
If a request is made for an evaluation of a child during the time period in which the child is subjected to disciplinary measures under § 300.530, the evaluation must be conducted in an expedited manner.
(ii) Until the evaluation is completed, the child remains in the educational placement determined by school authorities, which can include suspension or expulsion without educational services.
(iii) If the child is determined to be a child with a disability, taking into consideration information from the evaluation conducted by the agency and information provided by the parents, the agency must provide special education and related services
Placement in Disciplinary Procedures: Under IDEA 2004: Section 615(k) (to be read in conjunction with state law under M.G.L. c.71, §§ 37H & 37H1/2): A Principal may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when determining whether to order a change in placement for a student with a disability who, after a disciplinary hearing, has been found to have violated a school code of conduct.