Manifestation Hearing questions

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by adriennelynn, May 2, 2011.

  1. adriennelynn

    adriennelynn New Member

    sorry if i am posting this and there is a section here all about it. i just stumbled across this and amazed at the site from what I have seen so far, I really need this place. Ok, so I have a 15 yr old, has adhd and odd. first year in high school been put in almost all structured learning classes because he wont get the work done, or just refuses to do work sometimes. he is mostly attitude and distraction. well we had an argument last week, he left in the middle of the night, and we live in the wood which is a 4 mile walk to anything, 8 to town, where I think he ended up sleeping on a kids porch. well he went to school the next morning, he had texted me telling me everything was ok. well he had a somewhat bigger knife in his backpack at school, he didnt show it off or tell anyone. He was falling asleep in class when they asked him why and he said he was coming down off some zanax which he had stole a few days prior. so they searched his bag and found the knife.
    i understand the safety at school, but self harm and danger is never in his mo. so they called a manifestation hearing, they have suspened him the rest of the school year, which is like 6 or so weeks now.
    from the paper work they send me i dont even understant what that word means. from just the little bit i have read, i could maybe argue it saying, he had not taken his night medications, which are trazadone, and colodine, or his morning medications which are medadate cd, methenphadiate, and guacificine. sorry i probably spelled all those wrong. which is why he wasnt really thinking of the knife in his backpack? He is on an iep, has been for years, but I know this school is tired of my son, in previous meetings they have pretty much told me that all they are doing is babysitting my kid because he really isnt doing any work.
    If this is legitiment that he should be suspended, is there anything I should ask for during this meeting. I need my son to make some credits this semester. thanks for reading and any feedback, I am so interested in getting to know this site more.
  2. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Hi Welcome and sorry you need to be here.

    You need to get an education advocate to help you. It's very important and urgent. You should do whatever you can to delay the hearing until you can get help.

    To find an advocate you can do several different things. You can contact your Special Education department and tell them you want a list of advocates in your area. Sounds like you are in a rural area so that might be a very short list. When you get that list, call every one on it and leave them a message telling them what you need and the date of the hearing.

    You don't say what state you are in but, assuming you are in the US, each state has a network of centers funded by the Federal gov't and run by the State that is supposed to provide free advocacy to parents of children who are eligible for Special Education. These centers/agencies are usually a part of the State Developmental Disabilities agency - whatever that is called in your state. If you are in a rural state like the central northern states there may only be one or two in your state.

    If at all possible get an advocate to agree to help you, even if all they do right away is write a letter to the school district asking for a delay in the hearing until they can attend to represent you and your son.

    The manifestation hearing is held to determine whether your son's behavior is a result of his disabilities or not.

    If the hearing officer (usually the head of Special Education) determines the behavior is not be a result of his disabilities then the school district is free to punish him under the rules usually applied to all students. In this case, my guess is that they will expel him for bringing a knife to school.

    At his age, my guess is that between his issues and behavior that will spell end of his high school career but, unless he is emancipated, you will be stuck with him until he turns 18.

    Usually, a diagnosis of ODD is just a label of obnoxious behaviors. Most parents on this board have a kid who started or was given this label at some point. But about 99% of these kids were later diagnosed with serious mental health, developmental, neurological or other disorders that were the cause or contributing to the ODD behavior. Treating those underlying problems often reduces the ODD behaviors or gives you some tools/medications that will help the child learn to manage their own problems better.

    It sounds like your son is certainly on some medications that suggest he should have some diagnoses other than ADHD and ODD. If you have a chance to tell us more about your son's history (like if he's adopted), what other diagnoses he has, who has diagnosed him and who is prescribing his medications (psychiatrist? family doctor?) it would be helpful.

    I suggest that you search for and read the recent (past 3 months or so) threads about manifestation hearings. There have been several people who have gone through this process and gotten a lot of advice from the board and you can pull that up and use what applies to your situation.

  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I agree with rls. You NEED to get an advocate ASAP. You can contact your state Dept of Education or if you have a PACER center, you could call them. My advocate is through PACER and she has been a godsend. Ask for the manifestation hearing to be delayed. He's not still in school so that shouldn't be an issue. In our state, if a child has an IEP, the school district still needs to provide Special Education services. My argument to them at the hearing was the "intent" of having the knife. If your son has ADHD, he probably didn't think anything of it being in there.

    We really do need to know the answers to rls' questions. Call around for an advocate first thing in the morning.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Also agreeing that you need an advocate, this could turn nasty quickly. They are going to be deciding if having the knife at school is a 'manifestation' of his disability. If they decide it was not, he will be expelled.
  5. spedconsultant

    spedconsultant New Member


    Yes, your state should have a Parent Information and Training center to help you understand this process, your school can give you their number. But they have to hold this meeting because he has to get his education in some form. If you do not attend, they can have it anyway, so better to go and provide your input. You can fight the suspension saying that this all was a result of his disability in which he lacks judgment and is impulsive, etc. But the school year is near the end so finding an appropriate place for him to continue to get his education is needed. They can provide tutoring or another educational placement. It may be the case that an educational placement is just what he needs to get some intensive educational opportunities to work on his impulsiveness, behaviors, etc. Right now his behavior isn't safe and you want to take advantage of any opportunity to help him. You might also be able to get him a summer placement which might help keep him out of trouble while he learns strategies to support himself. Inform yourself as to placements and what looks appropriate for your child, there are often day and boarding options. You might also contact your Disabilities Rights Center as they may have more information to help and often provide help at no cost.