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School discipline

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As the school leader, you are charged with maintaining a safe place of learning. When a student's actions threaten the safety of the other students, what authority do you have to discipline the student? How do you ensure the student's due process rights? What additional legal requirements must you consider if the student is a special education student? Use case law to support your answers.

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IDEA procedural safeguards were designed to assure that students with disabilities (receiving special education and related services) were not arbitrarily removed from their parent-approved program without consent and were guaranteed a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) within the least restrictive environment (LRE), (exploring Constitutional Conflicts, n.d.). There is nothing in IDEA that restricts schools from disciplining children with disabilities. In fact, some would say that, by not addressing these dangerous behaviors, the student with special needs is not receiving an "appropriate" education.

A child with a disability, whose dangerous misconduct is found to be unrelated to his/her disability and whose IEP, program and services are appropriate to address the child's needs, may be subject to the regular discipline code of consequences, provided that the child continues to receive FAPE. The parent continues to have the right to appeal this decision and any decision regarding placement. Even when the behavior remains a perceived threat or danger to the child and/or others, FAPE should continue but may need to be provided within a more restrictive alternative center where control reduces danger. ...

Solution Summary

The additional legal requirements which must be considered if the student is a special education student is given.