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Report: Suspension rates higher among special needs students

In disciplinary matters involving special needs students, schools could end up taking some very serious and impactful actions. This includes deciding to pursue a suspension against the student in question.

School suspensions can have major impacts on the life and educational well-being of students with disabilities. In some situations, such suspensions might even amount to being functionally equivalent to an expulsion.

So, what happens in proceedings and hearings related to a possible suspension can have incredibly long-lasting implications for a special needs student. So, when a child with special needs is facing a suspension at school, their parents may want to bring in an attorney who will stand up for the child’s rights throughout the process.

A recent report indicates that the likelihood of facing suspension proceedings is particularly high among special needs students. The report is a compilation of data from a national survey taken between 2012 and 2013. The survey’s respondents included around 13,000 students between the ages of 13 and 21, along with their families. Many of the surveyed students were on an IEP.

The report found that 29 percent of students on an IEP had been put on suspension at some point during their schooling. This is a higher rate than that of non-IEP students.

While the report found that students with disabilities, generally, had a higher suspension rate, it did find there to be variation in this rate between different disabilities. Students with some types of disabilities showed an especially high likelihood of facing suspension. The highest suspension rate among special needs students was that of students with emotional disturbances, who had a rate of 65 percent.

What do you think are the keys to helping reduce suspension rates among students with emotional disturbances and other special need students?

Source: Education Week, “Are High School Students With Disabilities Prepared for Life After School?,” Christina Samuels, March 28, 2017

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