Manifestation determination - urgent

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bill Burns, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Guest

    I don't know if I am at the right place to ask questions. But I am confussed about how to ask. Please corrrect me. Here is my situation my 16 y/o son took a knife to school yesterday and showed it to another boy that turned him in(which was the right thing to do). The principal called and said we would need to come and pick him up. We were told we would be contacted by someone from the county school board for a hearing, later that day we were contacted by a member of the school board and told us the hearing will be this Tuesday. Today the Special Education teacher contacted us, she said I would need to stay after the hearing for a manifestation meeting as well as an amendment to his IEP. I have never heard of a manifestion meeting. When I did a google search I found this site. Can someone please tell me what I need to be prepared for? He does have an IEP in place. Please help before Tuesday. Thanks to anyone that can help.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    A manifestation hearing is where the IEP team, along with possibly some teachers/administration/school lawyer, look at your son's diagnoses and his current IEP/BIP to determine if his actions, that would normally be a basis for suspension or expulsion for a typical student, is a manifestation of his illness. In this case, does your son's diagnosis/symptoms include fascination with weapons, any violence, any physical aggression, etc? If it is, they cannot suspend or expel him but rather have to ammend his current IEP/BIP to address this kind of behavior. If that is not a typical symptom of his diagnosis, they legally can suspend or expel him. I would gather as much information as possible about your son's diagnoses so you know and can it share with the team. Another helpful piece is a written statement/assessment from any doctors or therapists that work with your son stating their thoughts on the issue as to whether your son is a threat. The school needs to make sure they handle the situation properly (legally) given your son's "disability".

    Hope this helps. In our state at least, a manifestation hearing is mandatory once the child has been suspended for 10 days in a given school year. My son just got his 3rd so far this year. My son's actions ARE a manifestation of his diagnosis but his haven't involved weapons of any kind. If it did, they would hold a hearing immediately also.

    Good luck. If you have any more questions, ask away. I'm sure you'll be hearing from the others. You have come to the right place. There is a wealth of "experience" knowledge here.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    No advice Bill but wanted to welcome you to the board. :D

    You have indeed found a great place with a wealth of information and parents who understand and care.

  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I survived my first manifestation meeting last school year. It stunk, but we made it thru.

    Not knowing your son's disabilities, its hard to say much, but I'm assuming at some level, he is lacking in the right from wrong arena? If that's the case, you'll need to be prepared to "prove" that your son's action (of taking the weapon to school) was something that was done because of his disability, and not something he just did just because he's a typical kid that did something dumb.

    If they determine that your son's action were due to his disability, you will then need to revisit the IEP/BIP to put in verbage to deal with this sort of situation should it repeat itself. If not, they can expel him, tho it is my understanding that they are still responsible for his education, since he is on an IEP; but they wouldn't have to allow him to reutrn to that same school (but someone needs to clarify that).

    I'm assuming, since you are here, that your son has at least some mental health issues. If so, look up your local NAMI branch, and try to go there tomorrow. They have a library full of info, and can help you pull documents that support your son's diagnoses. They can give you copies and references and they helped me prep myself for my son's hearing.

    Good luck.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Here's a link from the Special Education website that describes a bit about your son's situation:

    When a child brings a weapon to school, the law is clear that the child may be placed in an alternative setting for up to 45 days. I believe that is what the manifestation hearing will cover.

    In order to protect your son's rights, you may want to hire an educational advocate or special education attorney before Tuesday. You might be able to find one by checking these websites: (click on state/local)

    Hang in there.
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You are wise to explore the impact of the Manifestation meetings. Locally the school does not prepare the parents for the impact of that important meeting so often they show up and get blindsided. In middle school our difficult child took a blade from a pocket knife to school and put it in his shoe. He had been bullied repeatedly and in his mind that was a way to protect himself since the teachers/personnel were not intervening.

    The Dean who was in charge of the meeting adamantly insisted that he be expelled from school. Fortunately I read alot of information (via the Board and independently) and was able to convince the rest of the hearing voting members that he
    had chosen that action due to his disabilities. I typed up characteristics of his various diagnoses for distribution, took anti
    bulling mandates etc. The final vote had only the Dean on the "other side".

    The Dean was very unhappy that I had usurped her power and, as a result, she had the school resource officer contact
    law enforcement. Out of the blue a few weeks later I received a letter informing me that he was to ordered to report to the Juvenile Justice Department. :sad-very: He and I kept the appointment and the JJ intake representative stopped the interview
    after about fifteen minutes and said "I see no reason to proceed. He obviously is not a danger to others and you are currently addresing his issues." I thought that was the end of it and so did she. Somehow ?? he was placed on a one year probation (including 6 PM curfew and visits from a probation officer who also knew he was a victim of the system).
    At the end of one year his "record" was expunged.

    So, not to be pessimistic, approach this meeting realizing that sometimes (in some communities) your child can be punished outside of the school environment as the result of a determined individual. In our case difficult child was only twelve and was always happy to be safely home so it was not a major issue. He was barely aware of what happened. With older teens
    it can get hairier. I wish you the very best of luck and will look forward to hearing how it goes for you. DDD
  7. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Guest

    I would like to thank all who posted. After reading we have hired a special educational advocate. She came by this afternoon and we went over all of his IEP's and all other paper work (I have found it best not to throw anything away) She found several violations the school district had for not following his IEP's. The most major was when he was in the seventh grade he had taken a Boy Scout knife to school. We did not know but he never had a Manfiestation Determination done at that time. She went on to find several services they said they would provide, but have not. So as of now we feel a little bit more at ease. She seems to think he will not receive a hash punishment.

    So again thanks to everyone, because I would not have thought to look for a special educational advocate if I had not happened onto this site. I will post an update Tuesday.
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    My difficult child 2 did something similar when he was in the 5th grade. Unbeknownst to me, he took a Swiss Army knife with all the gadgets to school with the intent to use the magnifying glass tool to look at rocks (at the time, he was obsessed with becoming a geologist and collected lots of rocks at school). The teacher knew he had the knife and what he was using it for, and she'd just told him to put it away earlier in the day (rather than confiscating it which is what she SHOULD have done). Coincidentally, he'd been the victim of bullying and harrassment at school for a while, and on this particular day someone was bothering him and he made a verbal threat about the knife, which was met with jeers. He responded by showing the kid the knife and telling him what he would use it to do. That was the preciptating event that led to a 2-day suspension. However, when he came back and we met with district personnel, it was determined that he had no malicious intent in bringing the object to school, and that the threat he made was in response to a long-standing abusive relationship with another student and that due to his disability he would not be punished as severely. He ended up serving a few days of in-school suspension (which he actually enjoyed because he got some one-on-one attention from the assistant principal) and the school promptly began implementing an anti-bullying program throughout the school.

    Sounds like you have your resources lined up and I predict a positive outcome for your son. I look forward to your update -- good luck!
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Bill.
    I'm so glad you found us, that you got a good definition (I didn't know the answer so this was enlightening) and that you hired an advocate.
    I think it will go well. Best of luck!

    Come back and let us know how it went.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking about you and wondering how it went yesteray. Hoping for a positive result. DDD
  11. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Guest

    Hello to everyone who was so nice to responed to my questions about the Manifestion Hearing/Determination. Yesterday we went to the meeting with the advocate we had hired. The outcome of the manifestion, I fill was predetermined . For everyone who has attended one of these you know it is not a plesant meeting. We started off by the introductions. Then we got down what we were there for. It was stated my son has ADHD and learning disibilities. They had his Special Education teacher, Math teacher, and the Asst. Principle there. they ask all if my son had any discipline problems during the current IEP. The answer was no from all three. Our advocate spoke and ask about the other discipline problems in the past. The Schol District Special Education teacher spoke up and said a new rule from the Alabama Dept. of Education does not allow them to use anything but the current IEP and can not go back more than a year to look at discipline problems. The last Iep was done in March of 2010. So for the record he has no disipline problems. At his point they stated two questions had to be ask to determine if it was a manifestation of his disibility. Since he has no problems during current IEP the answer to the first question is no. Then they ask if the school had followed the IEP and the answer was yes. We did get to give our side of why we thought ADHD can cause him to not have a "normal" thought process. All school members voted it was not a manifestation and we voted it was. Their votes count ours don't. So the meeting was called to and end, and then the Discipline hearing stated by the Director of pupil services came ih to be the judge.

    Here you can only speak of the offense not what led up to it. The offense was he had a knife at school. they caught him with it. So he is guility. Since he did have the knife, we could not defend him. We (me, my wife, my son, and the advocate) were ask to step out of the room while they discussed it. about three minutes later we were ask back in. the judge said my son was guility and he would be placed in the County Alternative School for 45 days. Our Advocate ask if they had considered any other possibilities and he said yes I can exspell him.

    We were dismissed and went straight into an IEP to amend it, so it would address the new placement. WE did this and was told we would hear from the Alternative School for instructions, but until we hear from them he will need to go to his regular school and be in ISS. That's where we are now.

    If I can answer any questions I will be glad to do so if it will help anyone who must attend these meetings. It is not a fair system by any means., when you have the entire membership of the meeting made up of school employees it will never be fair.

    Again thanks to everyone.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Rats......I just "lost" my reply. I'll try it again!

    I am sorry that the hearing did not turn out the way you hoped. You did everything you could possibly do. Reaching out to find help for an unexpected problem was brilliant parenting. Thank heavens they did not opt for the expel option. The repercussions of that would certainly be longlasting.

    While I truly understand your disappointment, I have known kids who benefitted from the alternative school option. in my humble opinion
    the parents input is crucial. If the student can see the placement as a consequence of poor decision making, it's more than possible that the six weeks will pass quickly and serve as a lesson for future decision making. Where I live, by the way, the students are usually assigned to the alternative school for six months. :sad-very:

    I think the most important thing at this juncture is to make every effort that your son doesn't begin to see himself as a difficult child who is an outcast. He will be placed with kids who have a lengthly history and likely a poor future. He can get through this assignment with his self image unharmed if his persepective (usually inducted by parental support) is simply "I made a poor
    choice but I am not a bad person".

    Best of luck to your whole family. You all must be in shock and upset. Don't forget that you vibes are crucial. He can get through this and return to his school with his pride intact. It's not going to be easy but I truly believe it is possible. DDD
  13. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    This sounds NOTHING like my son's hearing. NOTHING.

    It may be different because of the weapon's violation, but I am doing some digging... Whether or not the IEP is successful or not is NOT The question at a MD hearing....its whether or not your child's disability lead to the "crime". I assume the advocate did not have any issues with how it was handled?
  14. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    yeah....this is what I remember....I actually have the chart at home that our school had to follow...basically a flow chart - if yes, do this; if no, do that...I'll look for it tonight, but I don't think they handled your meeting anything at all like they should have.
    They have to answer 2 questions - was the incident related to his disability, and was the IEP followed.

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2004 defines manifestation determination and details the disciplinary proceedings against a student who receives special education services under 20 USCS §1415 as follows:
    (E) Manifestation determination.
    (i) In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct, the local educational agency, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP Team (as determined by the parent and the local educational agency) shall review all relevant information in the student's file, including the child's IEP, any teacher observations, and any relevant information provided by the parents to determine--
    (I) if the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child's disability; or
    (II) if the conduct in question was the direct result of the local educational agency's failure to implement the IEP.
    (ii) Manifestation. If the local educational agency, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP Team determine that either subclause (I) or (II) of clause (i) is applicable for the child, the conduct shall be determined to be a manifestation of the child's disability.

    Just because he hasn't had any problems does not mean the answer to the first question was no!!!! NO WAY! I said, the weapons aspect of this could put a different spin on things, but I don't think so....but its worth checking out. ARGH, this makes me angry for you.
  15. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Shari, see my post above. When a weapon is involved, it's a different situation.
  16. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Ok, my bad, sorry!

    I suspected, since the advocate was 'ok' with this, if the weapon didn't change it a bit. My bad.
  17. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Guest

    Special circumstances

    Whether or not the behavior was a manifestation of the child’s disability, school personnel may remove a student to an interim alternative educational setting (determined by the child’s IEP Team) for up to 45 school days, if the child:
    1. Carries a weapon (see the definition below) to school or has a weapon at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the State Educational Agency or a school district;
    I had read this before the manifestation meeting, so we were expecting this to be the case. But we were holding out for less than 45 days. After thinking it may not be that bad for my son to to go to the alternative school. The schools he attends now is only 9th grade, it has over 700 students attending. With him at the alternative school it will kep him from the two boys that were wanting to fight him.
    I did come out of this with more wisdom than I had going in. 1.If you hire an advocate make sure they have attended the type of meeting you need to attend. 2. Don't say anything during the manifestationmeeting, save it for the IEP. They will use what you say against you. Here is what the school system's Special Educatin Director did to me, and this come directly from the minutes of the meeting. ( The father ask if his son could step out of the room for a minute, the child steps out- dad speaks frankly about son being adopted and his low IQ, and history of the birth parents. He states he talks to son daily about good behavior. Ms.xxxx states that because of the good parenting, the son has shown he can make better decisions.We have to clearly send son a message about knives). This was one of the most upsetting parts of the meeting, now I wish I had never told them.3. If your child has a disibility and they have any behavioral problems make sure it is documented and addressed. A phone call saying we don't want to see your child get in trouble, just means they don't want to do the paper work, it will come back to bite you later on.4. You don't have any friends in the school system, remember when they go into a room where the Director of Personnel is in charge they will side with him. 5. Be vocal at the IEP's this is where your child will start to be protected later, and with the change in the procedure to only use the current IEP make sure what you think needs to be in the IEP is in the IEP.
    Again thanks to all who I feel showed concern for my son and our family. This site is a great source of information from people who is going through the same problems you are going through.
  18. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I hope things work out for you, Bill.

    Sorry to have jumped too quickly to a conclusion.

    Like you, I am learning via trial by fire. It stinks, but what do you do? 20+ years ago, when I was picking a career path, no one told me that "special education attorney" was what I really needed to study for.