6.3.7 Suspension and Expulsion Procedures for Special Education Students

Suspension and Expulsion Procedures for Special Education Students


Generally, school officials may suspend a student who qualifies for special education using the same procedures as with general education students.  Special education students are not exempt from the disciplinary standards that apply to all students. 

When a special education student commits one of prohibited behaviors (See 6.3.2 above), the student may be suspended for no more than 10 consecutive days.  Likewise, the student may be suspended for no more than 10 cumulative days in a series of shorter suspensions that constitutes a pattern.  (A pattern is present where the suspensions stem from substantially similar conduct.)  34 C.F.R. § 300.536.

A suspension of 10 or fewer consecutive or cumulative school days does not trigger the need for a manifestation determination.  34 CFR § 300.530(e).  A suspension of more than 10 consecutive school days, or a series of shorter suspensions that totals more than 10 cumulative school days and which constitutes a pattern, triggers the need for a manifestation determination.

A manifestation determination is a finding of whether a student’s conduct is a manifestation of their disability. The conduct must be found to be a manifestation if: 1) the conduct was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the disability, or 2) the conduct was the direct result of the district’s failure to implement the IEP. 34  C.F.R. § 300.530(e).  If the manifestation determination reveals that the conduct was a manifestation of the child's disability, unless the provisions of an Interim Alternative Educational Setting apply (see criteria below) the IEP team must return the child to the placement from which the child was removed, unless the parent and the district agree to a change of placement.


When a special education student commits one of the prohibited behaviors (See Section 6.3.2), the student may be expelled if a manifestation determination was held and the team determined that the student’s conduct was not a manifestation of their disability. 34 CFR  § 300.530(c). If the parent/guardian disagrees with any District decision regarding placement, or the manifestation determination under 34 C.F.R. § 300.530(e), they may appeal the decision by requesting a due process hearing. The District may request a hearing if the District believes that maintaining the student's current placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or others. In order to request a due process hearing, the requesting party shall file a complaint with the Office of Administrative Hearings. Even if the student is expelled, the district has a duty to continue providing the student with a free appropriate public education.

Foster or Homeless Youth

If the manifestation determination is held for a foster or homeless student for a non-mandatory offense, the student’s attorney and child welfare agency representative (for foster youth) or the Homeless Youth Liaison (for homeless youth) shall be invited to participate in the meeting. The invitation may be made by mail, email or telephone call. This Notice also may be provided to the student’s attorney/child welfare agency representative/homeless liaison for mandatory offenses. 

Interim Alternative Educational Setting

If the violation committed by the student includes possession of drugs or a weapon, or infliction of serious bodily injury, the school district may, following an IEP meeting, unilaterally move the student to a 45-school-day interim placement regardless of the result of the manifestation determination. 34 CFR § 300.530(g).


This page was last updated on September 26, 2022