If the disciplinary removal does not constitute a change of placement (because it is not more than 10 consecutive days or it is part of a series of removals that cumulates to more than 10 school days in the same school year, but does not amount to a pattern of removals, see 34 C.F.R. § 300.536), then school personnel, in consultation with at least one of the child’s teachers, determine the extent to which services are needed during the removal period. [34 C.F.R. § 300.530(d)(4)] If the removal is a change of placement, the child’s IEP team determines the appropriate services to be provided during the removal. [Id. at subsection (d)(5)]
Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) acknowledge the authority of teachers and schools to maintain order and to discipline students, and to hold pupils to strict account for disorderly conduct on school property. [A.R.S. § 15-341(14)] There is nothing in the IDEA regulations or in Arizona law that allows a school to cede to parents or a student’s IEP team the deciding voice on whether or not discipline is to be imposed, and if so, the amount and severity of that discipline.
It depends. The regulations that implement the IDEA state that school personnel may remove a child with a disability who violates the code of conduct from his/her current educational placement for not more than 10 consecutive school days and during that time, no services need to be provided (as long as educational services are not provided during similar removals involving children without disabilities). [34 C.F.R. § 300.530(b)] However, after a child has been removed from his/her current placement for more than ten school days in the same year for disciplinary reasons, the school must ensure that the child receives a FAPE. [Id.] In other words, the school must ensure that the child receives educational services that enable him/her to continue to participate in the general curriculum and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in his/her IEP.[34 C.F.R. § 300.530(d)]
The regulations that implement the IDEA allow children not yet eligible to receive special education services to assert the IDEA’s disciplinary protections if the school had knowledge that the child was a child with a disability before the disciplinary incident occurred. A school will be deemed to “have knowledge” if, prior to the disciplinary incident: (1) the parents expressed in writing to a school’s administrative or supervisory staff a concern that their child needs special education; (2) the parents requested an evaluation; or (3) school personnel expressed specific concerns about a student’s pattern of behavior to the school’s special education director or other school administrators. [34 C.F.R. § 300.534(b)(1)-(3)]
The term “dangerous weapon” means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length, as defined by the United States criminal code. [18 U.S.C. § 930(g)(2)] Illegal drug means a controlled substance, but does not include one that is legally possessed or used under the supervision of a licensed health-care professional or that is legally possessed, as defined by the Controlled Substances Act. [21 U.S.C. § 812(c)] (Alcohol does not fall under the definition of illegal drug in this context.) Serious bodily injury involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, as defined in the U.S. criminal code. [18 U.S.C. § 1365(h)(3)] These definitions are incorporated by reference in the IDEA.