Getting a call from your child’s school can be stressful. As a parent, you worry about your child’s situation, and in addition, both your child’s school day and your workday have been interrupted.
Despite this, schools all around the country are calling parents to remove their children with disabilities from school – but the issues go unreported. A recent investigation highlights the concerns.
Unrecorded suspensions are an issue across states
A recent report from Associated Press (AP) News brought attention to a frequent issue occurring in schools across the nation: informal and unrecorded suspensions. The “off-the-books” suspensions include any type of removal from the classroom or school entirely, including:
- A sort of “time out,” with children placed in a separate room for a significant amount of time
- Children sent home, sometimes on several occasions
These actions technically are suspensions, since students miss significant school time, but the schools did not record them as such.
So, what are the reasons for these removals? According to AP News, many of the behaviors that led to removal were manifestations of the students’ disabilities.
What are the rules about removals?
There is a particular process for officially suspending any student from school, including one for students who have independent education programs (IEPs). The IEP team must review the action in question to evaluate if the behavior is a result of the student’s disability or not.
California law specifically states that if behavioral issues are a manifestation of the child’s disability, then the IEP team must address the issue. Addressing this matter may look like:
- Finding new accommodations that meet the student’s needs
- Creating new modifications that will help students handle this behavior
Therefore, any unofficial or unrecorded removal from class is technically an IEP violation in these cases. Schools and the IEP team must follow these procedures outlined in federal and state statutes. It is important for parents to understand their rights – and their child’s rights – so they protect their children from unfair actions like these in schools.