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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.

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Discipline in High School and Elementary School

My newest assignment wants me to interview a high school and elementary school administrator. My problem is that because of a work injury (in an elementary school here) the district that I live in will not cooperate with me when it comes to stuff like this. You have so much experience and information that I thought maybe you could look at the questions and give me some ideas or examples. The questions are below. Thanks so much!

Interview a high school administrator and an elementary administrator. During the interviews, discuss the following topics:

1. What are discipline issues that often arise with special needs students?
2. What challenges, if any, do administrators and teachers face in regard to special needs students?
3. How do disciplinary decisions and actions vary between special need students and regular education students?
4. Do special needs students understand that disciplinary decisions and actions may vary between themselves and regular education students?
5. Do parents of special needs students understand that disciplinary decisions and actions may vary between their children and regular education students?
6. How do parents of special and regular education students react to the differences?
7. What role does the district play with regard to decision making? Who provides directions and training to the administrators and teachers to ensure they are following IDEA regulations about discipline?

After the interviews have been conducted, write an essay of 1,000-1,250 words summarizing the information learned. Be sure to use information from both interviews. Address the similarities and differences in how the high school administrator and the elementary administrator approach these issues. In addition, cite court cases that appear to have influenced the school district's decisions.

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