What if My Child Has Frequent Behavior/Discipline Problems but Is Not Identified as a Student With a
Schools can discipline students with IEPs who have behavioral issues that are related or unrelated to their disabilities. However, special needs students have extra legal rights and protections.
What if your child is acting out a lot in school but is not identified as a student with a disability? Will they receive additional protection? If not, does my child have other rights?
When is my child eligible for extra protection?
If your child has not been determined to require special education services, they may be eligible for additional protection if the school is aware they may have a disability before the disciplinary action. A school has the basis of knowledge if:
You've expressed concern to the school administrator or your child's teacher in writing that your child needs special education services.
You've requested an IEP evaluation of your child.
Your child's teacher or the school staff has expressed concern about your child's behavior to special education or other supervisory personnel that your child may need special education services.
When is my child ineligible for extra protection?
If your child has already been evaluated and it has been decided they do not have a disability under IDEA, your child will not be eligible for extra protection.
Also, your child will not be eligible for additional protection if you said no when the school requested or offered an evaluation.
In such situations, your child has the same discipline rights as those without disabilities.
You and your child have rights
You and your child have rights that must be protected even if they are not eligible for additional protection. For instance, it's the school's duty to write to you, letting you know the rules pertaining to your child beforehand.
Also, if the school believes any rule has been broken, they must describe the nature of the misconduct in writing, how it violated the school codes, and the disciplinary actions to be taken.
Your child has the right to a fair hearing, and you have the right to defend your child against the school's allegation. Also, if you feel the school's disciplinary action is unjustified, you can appeal the decision. However, you don’t want to do it alone.
How can a special education lawyer help?
The process can be confusing and overwhelming for parents, and many find hiring a special education lawyer immensely helpful. A special education lawyer understands you and your child's rights and can guide you through the entire process.
If you feel your child has been unfairly disciplined in school, an experienced special education attorney, like Neubia L. Harris, can settle issues with the school and even defend your child in court if necessary. Your child's behavioral issues can also be caused by an unrecognized emotional or learning disability. A special education lawyer can guide you through the process of getting special education services that will help improve your child's behavior.