KBS Reference Desk: Discipline with Pending Special Education Evaluations

Q:        Campus administration has proposed a 60-day DAEP placement for a student. The parent requested an evaluation for special education prior to the conduct in question, but it is not yet complete. Does the district have to conduct a Manifestation Determination Review (“MDR”)?   

A:        Yes. An MDR is required when the district “knows” or “should have known” of a disability prior to the behavior in question. Here, an MDR is required for the student because the Individuals with Disabilities Act (“IDEA”) charges districts with “constructive knowledge” of a disability when an evaluation is requested prior to the disciplinary infraction.

As you know, the IDEA provides heightened disciplinary protections for eligible students with disabilities. One such protection is the requirement to conduct an MDR prior to implementing a disciplinary change of placement.

As a general rule, the MDR requirement only applies to students eligible for special education; however, for students who have not been evaluated, an MDR is still required if the district has constructive knowledge of the disability before the disciplinary infraction occurs. The IDEA’s implementing regulations charge districts with this constructive knowledge when:

(1)   The parent expressed concern for the potential need for special education in writing to the student’s teacher or to supervisory or administrative personnel prior to the conduct in question;

(2)   The parent requested an initial evaluation prior to the conduct in question; or

(3)   The student’s teacher or other district personnel communicated specific concerns regarding a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the student to the director of special education or other supervisory personnel before the conduct in question.

34 C.F.R. § 300.534.

Here, because the evaluation process began before the behavior occurred, the district is deemed to have “constructive knowledge” of the disability, and the student is entitled to the IDEA’s disciplinary protections. Therefore, the district cannot implement the proposed DAEP placement before conducting an MDR. In contrast, if the parent had requested the evaluation after the conduct and during the discipline process, which commonly occurs, the student is most likely not subject to the IDEA unless the district determines that (1) or (3) above applies.  For specific questions concerning MDRs, contact your school attorney.

Related Posts

Recent Articles

KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Suspension of TPIA due to Catastrophe
August 6, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Standard for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
July 30, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Bullying Policies and Reporting SB 2050
July 23, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Homeschoolers and UIL
July 16, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Suspension Extension
July 9, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Revision to Resignation without Penalty Deadline
July 2, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: SB 179 School Counselors
June 25, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: 2021 TRS Surcharge SB 202
June 18, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: When do Virtual Board Meetings End
June 11, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Buy American Program
June 4, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Board Member with Substantial Interest Closed Meeting Attendance
May 28, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Administrator Reassignments – Same Professional Capacity
May 21, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Vaccine Complications and FFCRA
May 14, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Importance of Contract Legal Review
May 7, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Negotiating Resignations
April 30, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Authority to Create New Position
April 23, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Vaccine Incentive Programs for Employees
April 16, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Felony Conviction and School Board Candidates
April 9, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: T-TESS Rubric Virtual
April 2, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: COVID-19 Vaccination Status Questions and EEO Laws
March 26, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Certification Addendum
March 19, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Lifting of Mask Mandate and Implications for UIL Activities
March 12, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Identification of TPIA Requestor
March 5, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Closure
February 26, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Vaccines and Quarantine
February 19, 2021