1. Some parents have a misunderstanding that a child who has an IEP cannot be disciplined, cannot receive a referral, cannot be suspended, or cannot be expelled from public school, and that is not the case. All children, even children with an IEP, have to abide by school discipline rules and behavior guidelines.

2. There are many kids who have behavior challenges in school. Parents, you need to know what you’re up against, because if you don’t take this seriously, if you don’t have a comprehensive idea of what your rights are and your child has behavior challenges, then he or she is very much at risk of being kicked out of school or sent to an alternative school, and I’m not kidding.

3. If a child violates the code of conduct for that district or has behavior that is considered unacceptable, then that child with an IEP can receive a referral, suspension or expulsion, just like any general education child in the school system. The difference is that there are safeguards in place for children who have an IEP that will apply in these situations that does not apply to children who do not have an IEP.

4. If a child on an IEP is referred for expulsion, a Manifestation Determination meeting will be held. It is so important, and I cannot stress this to you enough, that you need to know your rights in this kind of situation or your child will most likely be expelled and you will forfeit the safeguards allotted to your child on an IEP. If your child is prone to behavior challenges, this is not to be taken lightly.

5. If your child has an IEP and has behavior challenges and if your child does not have a Positive Behavior Plan (BIP) on the IEP, then you need to sit down, write a letter to the principal, and request an IEP meeting so that you can have the school start evaluating your child for a Behavior Intervention Plan. This is a positive plan to teach the child appropriate behaviors to replace the behavior challenges.

Many parents call me in tears saying that they don’t even want to be by their phone because the school calls them so often to report behavior problems or the child did this wrong or that wrong. Sometimes the school will call parents and say, “Do you have any ideas on how we can work with your son or your daughter because we don’t know what to do for them anymore?” Or they’ll call and ask the parent to come pick up the child from school because they can’t handle them, or the child is not in the classroom because the child is always taken out of the class due to behavior or taken to the principal’s office.

All the above are violations of IDEA because the IEP team has failed to develop a behavior plan or conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA).

I can tell you this, they absolutely know what to do and they are playing dumb because they know you don’t know your rights. Be sure to take the time to learn what to do if your child has behavior challenges. The school district is obligated under state and federal law to address all behaviors that impede your child’s ability to learn.

If you haven’t joined our Private Special Education Parent Empowerment Facebook Group yet, you should check it out here.

Here’s to your advocacy success,

Valerie Aprahamian

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