• Policy & Procedure:  Manifestation Determination Review

    Students with disabilities are subject to the same type of disciplinary procedures as their typical peers.  However, it has been established that exclusion from school for more than 10 consecutive days amounts to a change in placement. As a result, before a school can contemplate disciplinary decisions that may result in a change of placement, a number of procedural safeguards must be followed.  A meeting to determine whether the behavior leading to disciplinary action was or was not a manifestation of the child's disability must be conducted at any time when removal of a student with a disability from an educational program beyond the 10th day is being considered or whenever commencing a removal that would constitute a change in placement

    Conducting Manifestation Determination Review
    Manifestation Determination Review must take place if the school determines that a change of placement has occurred following short-term suspensions that cumulate to more than 10 days in a school year or if there is a decision to take disciplinary action involving removal for more than 10 consecutive days, e.g., recommendation for expulsion.   

             Manifestation Determination Review must be conducted immediately, if possible, but no later than 10 days after the decision to take disciplinary action is made or after determining that a change in placement has occurred.   In addition, the following procedures are required:

    • Give notice of the disciplinary decision and of the procedural safeguards to the parents no later than the date on which the decision is made to take disciplinary action.
    • Notify parent(s) in writing, immediately, if possible, but not more than 10 days after a decision to take action occurs, of the date, time, and location of the Manifestation Determination Review.  Use "Notice of Meeting" form, checking "Additional Meeting,” and specifying the purpose as a Manifestation Determination Review.
    • The purpose of the meeting is to determine whether there was a causal relationship between the incident for which the student was suspended and their disability.
    • Notification should include identification of time, date and participants who will be in attendance.
    • This is a meeting of the IEP Team and parents/guardian should participate. However, if they refuse to attend, they should be given a copy of the N1 documenting the results of the Manifestation Determination Review and Notice of Procedural Safeguards.

    Participants at meeting:

    a.      Principal or designee

    b.      Special Education TEAM Chairperson

    c.      Special Education Teacher

    d.      Regular Education Teacher(s)

    e.      School Psychologist

    f.        One or both of the parents/guardian

    g.      The child, if appropriate 

    h.      Other individuals, at the discretion of the parent or the school district

    Provide parents with a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards.   Their right to appeal is contained in this information.

    Component Review:  The team must consider all relevant information including:

                a. Evaluation/diagnostic results

                b. Observations of the child

                c. Child’s IEP placement

                d. Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Support Plan if available.

    Incident Review:   This should include the who, what, when, where, why and how of the specific incident under review.

            TEAM Determination:   The TEAM must determine if the behavior (incident specific) is a manifestation of the child's disability.  The team may determine that the behavior is not a manifestation of the child's disability only after conducting a component review and answering the following questions:

                 a. Was the conduct in question caused by, or have a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability?

                 b. Was the conduct in question a direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP?

    Parameters of the Review:

    • If the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of a disability the child may not be expelled, nor may the school impose long-term suspension.
    • If placement is determined to be inappropriate the child may not be expelled, nor may the school impose long-term suspension.
    • If the behavior is not a manifestation of a disability and the child was appropriately placed at the time of the misconduct, the child may be disciplined the same as a non-disabled child except that the child must be provided with educational services.

    Statement of each team member:   Members of the Manifestation Determination Review Meeting should sign their names and indicate their agreement or disagreement with the recommendations.

    Discipline of Special Education Students Under IDEA 2004

    20 U.S.C. § 1415(k) and 34 CFR §§ 300.530-300.536


    ·    This chart should be read in conjunction with discipline procedures in state law, M.G.L. c. 71, §§ 37H & 37H1/2, and district-wide and school-wide student codes of conduct.

    ·    Protections in the IDEA apply to students who have been found eligible for special education and to students for whom the school is deemed to have knowledge that the child might have a disability (i.e., students who have not yet been found eligible but the school had a basis of knowledge of a disability, including students who have been referred for initial evaluation).  34 CFR § 300.354

    ·    Beginning on the 11th school day of a student’s disciplinary removal during the school year, and if removal is a change in placement, the student must be provided free appropriate public education (FAPE) services during the period of removal to allow him/her to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and progress towards IEP goals, even if in a different setting.  34 CFR § 300.530(b) & (d).

    ·    If the conduct that the student is being disciplined for involves the “special circumstances” of weapons, illegal drugs, controlled substances, or serious bodily injury, school personnel may remove the student to an interim alternative educational setting (IAES) for up to 45 school days, regardless of the manifestation determination. 34 CFR § 300.530(g).  The IEP Team must determine the IAES.

    ·    Although the following flowchart lays out the steps that a school district must take when disciplining a student with a disability, it is important to remember that at any point the parent and school district can agree to change a student’s placement for disciplinary reasons.  Agreements should be in writing, and signed by the school personnel and the parent.


    Disciplinary removal for current misconduct is for less than 10 consecutive school days and removals total less than 10 cumulative school days in the school year

    34 CFR § 300.530(b)


    Disciplinary removal for current misconduct is for 11 or more consecutive school days


    Student’s conduct is a manifestation

    of his/her disability.  34 CFR § 300.530(f)

    Student’s conduct is not a manifestation

    of his/her disability.  34 CFR § 300.530(c)

    Student protected under IDEA violates a school code of conduct