Before expelling a student with a disability, a school must hold a meeting called a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) . At the meeting, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will discuss whether the student’s behavior stems from their disability. If the IEP team finds that the student’s behavior stems from their disability, then the student cannot be expelled from school. If the IEP team finds that the student’s behavior does not stem from their disability, then the school must conduct an expulsion hearing. An expulsion hearing is the same for a students with and without disabilities.
Within 10 school days after making the decision to change the student’s placement, the school must hold the manifestation determination review. You should attend this meeting, because if you can persuade the IEP team that your child’s misbehavior was a manifestation of their disability, the school district cannot expel your child.
At the manifestation determination review the IEP team must talk about:
- The information that you present
- The information in the student’s file
The teachers’ observations of your child
The IEP team must decide whether your child’s behavior is a manifestation of their disability. Your child’s behavior is a manifestation of their disability if:
- The conduct was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child’s disability;
- Your child’s behavior was a direct result of the school’s failure to implement your child’s behavior intervention plan.
If the IEP team decides that your child’s behavior stems from their disability, the school may not expel your child. The school must conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). If the student already has a BIP, the IEP team should change the BIP as necessary.
You should present any information you have that shows that your child’s behavior was a manifestation of their disability. If your child sees a therapist or doctor who thinks your child’s behavior was a manifestation of their disability, you should get letters from the therapist or doctor. If possible, the therapist or doctor should attend the meeting.
If the school decides at the manifestation determination review that your child’s behavior does not stem from your child’s disability, you have the right to appeal the school’s decision. To appeal, you must ask for an expedited due process hearing. View the Discipline and Manifestation Determination Review Timeline for a summary of this process.
If you don’t appeal the manifestation determination review decision, or if you appeal and lose, the school must invite you to attend an expulsion hearing to discuss your child’s behavior.
If your child attends a public school, the school must send you notice of the expulsion hearing in writing and by certified or registered mail. The notice must state the time, place, and reason for the hearing, and your right to be represented by an attorney. If your child attends a charter school, you should look at the school’s disciplinary handbook regarding the school’s expulsion procedures.
At the hearing, the school must give reasons for the expulsion and the date when the expulsion will start.
The group that creates the IEP is called the IEP Team.