The Disciplinary Cycle for Students with Disabilities

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  • 0:00 Disabled Student…
  • 1:16 Protection Under the Law
  • 3:10 Positive Behavior…
  • 4:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

In this lesson, we'll be exploring discipline strategies for students with disabilities. By the end of this lesson you'll have a better understanding of positive interventions and steps to take before altering placement or suspension, as well as how these apply to special education laws.

Disabled Student Behavior Issues

Imagine an inclusion classroom of 25 students. At least three of your students have emotional impairments that result in extremely disruptive behavior during class. You have five students with a specific learning disability and one with a language processing disability. The rest of your students are general education, but many are English language learners.

During your lesson on cells, Julie, a student with a behavioral individualized education plan (IEP) due to post-traumatic stress disorder has an emotional outburst. Julie has her phone out, and you ask her to put it away. When she refuses, you address her again. She starts to scream and curse at you, eventually pushing her desk over into another student. Naturally, this event has been traumatic for you and for the other students in your classroom. How do you proceed? What disciplinary action can be taken against Julie, considering her disability? What if this same incident happened to Charles, a student with a specific learning disability in math? Would the disciplinary strategy be the same or different?

These are the questions we'll be answering today as we explore the laws that protect students with disabilities in the disciplinary cycle and positive intervention alternatives.

Protection Under the Law

Students with disabilities are protected from both excessive suspension and expulsion if the incident directly relates to their disability. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was published in 2006 as part of the No Child Left Behind Act and outlined laws to protect students with disabilities. The 10-day rule protects students from being suspended for more than 10 days at a time due to their disability. The IEP team, child, and parent must come to a consensus on whether the behavior is directly related to the disability in a process called manifestation determination.

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