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Special Education Law

A Child Cannot Be Expelled For A Disability

An expulsion hearing must be held within 30 school days after the date the principal or the superintendent of schools determines that the pupil has committed any of the acts that violate the California Education Code. A child is entitled to request one postponement of the expulsion hearing, but that postponement cannot last more than 30 days. Within 10 days of the conclusion of that hearing, the school board must decide whether to expel the child, unless the child requests in writing that the decision be postponed.

The above circumstances are in the case of a general education student only. When a child is receiving special education services, an additional step is added into the process described above: That step is called a Manifestation Determination.

The attorneys at Augustin Egelsee, LLP have represented many special education students who have been suspended or expelled due to behavior that was caused by their disability, including but not limited to anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder and depression.

If you are going to a manifestation determination meeting or your child has been suspended or expelled, contact the Orange County special education attorneys at Augustin Egelsee, LLP as soon as possible. You and your child have rights you may not be aware of, and you may have a limited amount of time to address this situation.

California Expulsion Attorneys

When a special education student is found to have violated the California Education Code, a school district is required to set up an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, which is to serve as a manifestation determination. A school district is also required to provide a special education student with a manifestation determination when that student has been suspended for 10 or more school days within a single school year, as that is considered a change of placement.

A school district must conduct a manifestation determination within 10 school days of a decision to change the placement of a pupil with a disability due to a violation of the code of student conduct. The manifestation determination team must consist of a school district representative, the parents, and relevant members of the IEP team as determined by the parent and the school district.

Once this team has been assembled, the team must review all relevant information in the file of the child, including the IEP, any observations of teachers, and any relevant information from the parents, to determine if the child’s conduct was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child’s disability, or if the child’s conduct was the direct result of the district’s failure to implement the IEP.

If the team decides that either of the two factors applies, then the conduct must be determined to be a manifestation of the child’s disability. If it is determined to be a manifestation, a child cannot be expelled, and the school district is required to conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment of that child in order to provide further behavior interventions in the area related to the underlying incident. If the team determines that the child’s conduct was not a manifestation of his or her disability, the district may apply to the disabled child the same disciplinary procedures, in the same manner and for the same duration, as would be applied to a general education student.

Assistance For Manifestation Determination Meetings

It is very important that you understand the manifestation determination process. The attorneys at Augustin Egelsee, LLP are committed to providing legal advice to our clients, and consider every child’s case to be unique.  Special education law is complex; you may have many more questions that have not been addressed here. Please contact Augustin Egelsee, LLP through our online intake form or by calling 714-602-1498

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