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Received by certified mail today a notice for an informal hearing regarding a 5 day suspension from school, an invitation to participate in IEP meeting called a Manifestation Determination for Tuesday morning. HELP!! There were no papers explaining "manifestation determination" or rights! The suspension steamed from him tossing a book to a girl 2 sets back (not smart). The book hit the arm of a student him and 2 friends reported for cheating. THe other student flew out of his seat and started at my son. My son moved to the other side of the room. The other student tripped over a desk, hit his face (no injury) then tried to throw the desk. The other student was sent to the office, then my son was escorted to the office. While in the office, he called to tell me what happen (in the IEP the principal/discplinarian are to allow him to call because when he gets worked up he can not verbally express/explain the situation. When he went in the office, there were 4 adults, guidance, disciplarian, prinicpal and a woman that he did not know. Received the notification for a 5 day suspension and written description. The written description did not match what my son said the events were. So naturally, I questioned him and 2 of the classmates. They collaborated his story. So what do I do? What should I expect at a manifestation determination? Wha tis the difference between the informal hearing and the manifestation determination? There are only 5 days of school remaining with a suspension, he can not take his final exams. The other time he was suspended it was related to his impulsive behavior. His medications (Adderral and Tegretol) had to be discontinued. Now I am starting to impulsive behavior.

The IEP has not been followed by the school on numerous occassions related to weekly reports and behavioral plan. All incidents involve tardiness to school, impulsive behavior, i.e tossing a book to a friend 3 seats away. No fist fights, weapons, drugs involved. Here is an example of the problems I have with the school. My son had a detention (which I argee he deserved for being tardy the other day). I had to go to school official becuse the disciplinarian wanted to give it to him during his co-operative educational training which another teacher told be should not be done. After my son spoke with the principal, he changed the time. When my son went to report the disciplinarian told him to leave there were no "special" deals for him. I had to call the prinicipal who then instructed the student to return. After driving to school to pick him up, I had to drive back for the detention, then home and then back again.

ANy ideas would be grateful? There is only 5 days of this school year and I do not want to have him repeat 11 grade because of a suspension. HELP!!!


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The Manifestation Hearing, in my opinion a "formal meeting", is being convened to determine if your son's actions are related to his disability. A student cannot be suspended for behavior related to his disability, unless it is specifically stated in the IEP that he will be held to all disciplinary codes of the school with not accomodations or exceptions. The issue of relatedness would therfore determine if he can indeed be suspended.

Now I have a few questions. You did not write in your signature what your son's disability is. I am also not clear what exactly he was suspended for. Was it "throwing the book" or the events that followed? You mentioned that he had been suspended before for an impulsive act and "The other time he was suspended it was related to his impulsive behavior. His medications (Adderral and Tegretol) had to be discontinued. Now I am starting to impulsive behavior." Was his medication discontinued for medical reasons BEFORE the impulsive act, or after?

If you son's disability has a componnet that includes impuslivity (AHDH, several anxiety disorders, etc) you should be prepared to make a case that the act of throwing the book was impulsive and directly related to his diagnosed disability. I would also argue that the resulting behavior of the other student (charging toward you son and hitting him) should not be solely pegged on your son. The other student was in control of his behaviors and could have handled the situation differently.
If your son was suspended for cheating, I think that you may have a much more difficult time proving the relatedness of his actions.

I think that you should also be prepared to discuss how they school is failing to implement his behavior plan. I hope that it addresses some of his impulsive bheiavors, and that you can discuss how the failure to work with him to control his impulses may have contributed to this incident.

You have mentioned several other issues...such as how your son was treated in the past and how this situation was handled in the office. While these are important and valid concerns, and certainly do nothing to help your son, you sould do your best to remain focused on this issue and your son's behavior. I would only bring up past incidents to fuel your arguement that he has shown a pattern of impulsive behaviors, the school is aware of them and they are directly related to his disability. And be aware that the school district might bring up past incidents to make a case that he should be suspended. Hold them to dicussing this indcident and how impulsive it was. IF your son's medications have been changed or altered in any way that is increasing his impulsivity, you might consider offering medical information from his doctor.

Good Luck


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Looked in IEP, found the following in the section called "SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS THE IEP TEAM MUST CONSIDER BEFORE DEVELOPING THE IEP. ANY FACTORS CHECKED MUST BE ADDRESSED INTHE IEP. I noted that there was a box checked which stated "OTHER (SPECIFY) He will follow the disciplinary policy as written inthe high school handbook. If ISS or OSS is used as a form of discipline, there will be parent notification." Does this apply since there has been a change in his treatment (discontinuationof medications)? No one really explained the impact of this statement to me. Prior to the discontinuation the behavior overall was good. When I spoke with the Assistant Principal, Guidance, Prinicipal and teachers at a meeting I expressed concern that coming off the medication is a rocky road. My son had ADD/ADHD and Auditory Processing Problems. My son was Occupational Therapist (OT) cheating, him and another student reported the young man who charged him for cheating. There was an early confortationbetween my son and this young man which it was recommended to sit them at opposite ends. Seems the school/teacher did not feel that is was necessary. Will the fact that the teachers did not provide weekly updates impact the outcome?

I drafted 2 letters. One requesting copies of my sons records. Another requesting a due process hearing. If I request a due process hearing, is it true that my son can be returned to school till the hearing takes place? There are only 5 days remaining, it is imperative he take the finals which are worht 20% of his grade. If he takes a 0%, he may fail and need to repeat a class which willl delay his high school graduation.

Would you recommend any books or sights to help me prepare for the manifestation hearing? Should a attorney or child advocate be present? The child is not allowed to attend because when suspended can not be on school property at all. What is in the packet which was suppose to be included but not sent by the school entitled Procedure Safeguards? Any suggestions regarding finding a child advoate or attorney within 24 hours for the meeting. Also, the school said that they can have the meeting without me there. What is the differnece between the informal hearing that is first then the Manifestation Determination?

I am feeling as if I failed my son with not having a concrete IEP. Seems his is really not worth the paper it is written on.


Several things...

If the school is not implementing the IEP, they really don't have much of a leg to stand on regarding the Manifestation hearing.

Second, I don't know what the laws are in your state or policies in your school district but in ours, a student that is suspended has the ability to make up missed assessments from the time of suspension. You should check to see if your son can complete his assignments & finals either while he is suspended or after it is finished.

Third, as many have said in other threads, DOCUMENT everything!! Get it in writing. Consider also getting an advocate for you to be with you at the hearing to help explain your rights & provide you with a bit of moral support. Write down a list of your questions & what you feel your son needs to be successful. Also have specific instances of when/where the IEP has not been followed.

Considering some of the things my difficult child has done, a Manifestation hearing for throwing a book seems a bit harsh.

I'm also a bit puzzled as to why if your son is having impulse control problems, he has been taken off medications? What was the reason for that?

Hang in there & keep asking questions.



Will this suspension make 10 cummulative days that you son has been suspended this year?

Your school district must provide you with information pertinent to yours and your child's rights regarding Manifestion Hearings/Determinations.

From .

IDEA–Reauthorized Statute

The reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on Dec. 3, 2004, by President George W. Bush. The provisions of the act became effective on July 1, 2005, with the exception of some of the elements pertaining to the definition of a “highly qualified teacher” that took effect upon the signing of the act. This is one in a series of documents, prepared by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education, that covers a variety of high-interest topics and brings together the statutory language related to those topics to support constituents in preparing to implement the new requirements.1 This document addresses only the changes to the provisions of IDEA regarding discipline that took effect on July 1, 2005. It does not address any changes that may be made by the final regulations.

IDEA 2004:

1. Adds new authority for school personnel.
School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when determining whether to order a change in placement for a child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct. [615(k)(1)(A)]

2. Establishes a new standard for manifestation determinations.
Except for children with disabilities who have been suspended for not more than 10 days, 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 education agency (LEA), the parent, and relevant members of the individualized education program (IEP) team (as determined by the parent and LEA) 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 if the conduct in question was:
• Caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child's disability; or
• The direct result of the LEA's failure to implement the IEP.

3. Adds a new provision when there is a determination that a behavior was a manifestation
of the disability.
If the LEA, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP team make the determination that the conduct was a manifestation of the child’s disability, the IEP team shall:
• Conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan for such child, provided that the LEA had not conducted such assessment prior to such determination before the behavior that resulted in a change in placement described in Section 616(k)(1)(C) or (G);
• In the situation where a behavioral intervention plan has been developed, review the behavioral intervention plan if the child already has such a behavioral intervention plan, and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior; and
• Except as provided in Section 616(k)(1)(G), return the child to the placement from which the child was removed, unless the parent and the LEA agree to a change of placement as part of the modification of the behavior intervention plan.

4. Establishes a new standard for special circumstances.
School personnel may remove a student to an interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 school days without regard to whether the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the child’s disability, in cases where a child … has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of an SEA or LEA. [615(k)(1)(G)]

5. Adds a definition for “serious bodily injury.”
The term “serious bodily injury” is defined in Section 1365(h)(3) of Title 18, U.S. Code, to mean a bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty. [615(k)(7)(D)]

6. Establishes the authority of the hearing officer.
In making the determination under Section 615(k)(3)(B)(i), the hearing officer may order a change in placement of a child with a disability. In such situations, the hearing officer may: (1) return a child with a disability to the placement from which the child was removed; or (2) order a change in placement of a child with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 school days if the hearing officer determines that maintaining the current placement of such child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others. [615(k)(3)(B)(ii)]

7. Adds timelines for an expedited hearing regarding appeals under Section 615(k)(3).
When an appeal under Section 615(k)(3) has been requested, the SEA or LEA shall arrange for an expedited hearing, which shall occur within 20 school days of the date the hearing is requested, and shall result in a determination within 10 school days after the hearing. [615(k)(4)(B)]

8. Revises the standard for a basis of knowledge for children not yet eligible for special
education and related services.
An LEA shall be deemed to have knowledge that a child is a child with a disability if, before the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action occurred:
• The parent of the child expressed concern in writing to supervisory or administrative personnel of the appropriate educational agency, or a teacher of the child, that the child is in need of special education and related services;
• The parent of the child has requested an evaluation of the child pursuant to Section 614(a)(1)(B); or
• The teacher of the child, or other personnel of the LEA, has expressed specific concerns about a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the child, directly to the director of special education of such agency or to other supervisory personnel of the agency.

9. Establishes an exception to the “basis of knowledge” standard.
An LEA shall not be deemed to have knowledge that the child is a child with a disability if the parent of the child has not allowed an evaluation of the child pursuant to Section 614 or has refused services under Part B or the child has been evaluated and it was determined that the child was not a child with a disability under Part B. [615(k)(5)(C)]

1 Topics in this series include: Alignment With the No Child Left Behind Act; Changes in Initial Evaluation and Reevaluation; Children Enrolled by Their Parents in Private Schools; Discipline; Disproportionality and Overidentification; Early Intervening Services; Highly Qualified Teachers; Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team Meetings and Changes to the IEP; Individualized Education Program (IEP); Local Funding; National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS); Part C Amendments in IDEA 2004; Part C Option: Age 3 to Kindergarten Age; Procedural Safeguards: Surrogates, Notice and Consent; Procedural Safeguards: Mediation and Resolution Sessions; Procedural Safeguards: Due Process Hearings; Secondary Transition; State Funding; and Statewide and Districtwide Assessments. Documents are available on the OSERS Web site at:


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Thank you for the information. The question I have is how do you find a child advocate in your area? Since, I was not given the Procedure Safeguard, I have no contact infomation available.

To add to the saga: I received 2 phone calls, one from a teacher's aide and one from a student who heard the comment, "well this will finally teach the 2 of them who they are dealing with". Both parties told me that it was said in front of a secretary, 2 teacher aides, and 4 students in the main office reception area.

Do I have the right to request one of the teachers who was not following the IEP to be at the meeting. The school has assigned the only teacher who communicated and reported very minimal problems (tardy to class 2 times).

Went back and looked at this grades for the first 3 marking periods and current grades in class. The only class he will fail if he does not take the final is English.

I wish that there were programs presented to assist parents with developing, monitoring compliance and understanding the legal issues surrounding children with disablities. The regulatory writing is not easy to understand and is interpreted by the school differently.

Would you recommend going to the Manifestation Hearing, presenting the points related to this incident, then requesting a due process hearing related to not following the IEP and the Manifestation Hearing ruling if not favorable. My son and I have one more year to go (181 days, not that I am counting HAHA)and I went to be assured I am not going through this again.

The reason he was taken off the medication was related to medical reasons. In September, he will be revaluated and determine if he can return to the medications.

Thank you to those who offered guidance and support, it is reatly appreciated!!!

PG mother, professional
FDG dad, not the biological father of RG or my son. Adopted my son when he was in kindergarten. Gets frusturated with inconsistent treatment related to who you are.
RG 22 y/o sister, college grad with honors, when at the same HS got away with little things because she was popular, cheerleader, homecoming queen, student council, etc.
My son 17 y/o Vo-tech student works co-op doing very well in highly structured environment, up until Jan 06 few problems over the last 2 years, takes AP math, college prep English, general science. The elementary and middle school years were a challenge!!
SG 9 y/o sister, goes to Catholic school with nuns as teachers, good student


Does this apply since there has been a change in his treatment (discontinuationof medications)?

Yes. The IEP as written stands unless changed by the IEP Committee.

I was not given the Procedure Safeguard, I have no contact infomation available.

Call the District level Special Education Department and ask for one to be faxed to you immediately. Also ask that Manifestation Hearing procedures and parent/student rights be faxed.

Talk to the Special Education Director. If you’re given the least bit of flack about getting the info to you immediately, politely ask, “Can I get the number to the Penn Education Agency? What department should I ask for to get this info. by the way, what is PEA’s IDEA/IEP Parent Information number?”

Just so you know, every State Education Agency must have staff on hand to help the parents.

I personally would not use an advocate listed on a school district information sheet. It’s short notice, but you might find someone that can help you at . Pete Wright is affiliated with-this site. He is the Special Education Attorney at .

Do I have the right to request one of the teachers who was not following the IEP to be at the meeting.

Yes. You can invite anyone you want. Put the request in writing and hand carry it to Special Education Director. If you can’t do that, fax it and then call with a follow up to make sure it was received.

I wish that there were programs presented to assist parents with developing, monitoring compliance and understanding the legal issues surrounding children with disablities.

There are parent trainings available. One organization that offers them is PA. I believe ARC is another. has books that can be purchased.

To add to the saga: I received 2 phone calls, one from a teacher's aide and one from a student who heard the comment, "well this will finally teach the 2 of them who they are dealing with". Both parties told me that it was said in front of a secretary, 2 teacher aides, and 4 students in the main office reception area.

This in and of itself is a gross violation of your child’s privacy rights.

This statement indicates it is the opinion of the person who said it, that there have been more problems than tardies. Asking for difficult child’s records is good.

If your son has been taken off his ADHD medications, you can use this to argue impulsiveness.

If you can’t get an advocate or attorney specializing in sp ed law to go with-you, keep focused on two things at the Hearing.

#1 – The school district did not follow difficult child’s IEP.
#2 - Impulsiveness is part of difficult child’s ADHD. Due to medical necessity, difficult child has been taken off his medication. (Get something in writing from the doctor if at all possible, e.g., a handwritten note on the doctor’s Rx pad, a copy of difficult child’s chart showing the doctor’s notes to discontinue, etc. “)

Let us know how it goes.


by the way, you never answered an earlier question I had or either I overlooked it.

Will this suspension make 10 cummulative days that you son has been suspended this year?

Unless your State regs require a MH for less than 10 day suspensions, there shouldn't even be a MH.

If I were you, when I talked to the Special Education Director, I'd ask how they are going to work in difficult child's tests this week in the event the suspension stands. Put the responsiblity on the sd.


New Member

One other thing to add to Sheila's great posts!

If your son cannot go back on medications----for whatever reason----request to reconvene the IEP meeting to address this issue. He has an IEP in place, so that means that the sd cannot deny that he qualifies for SpEd. At the meeting you need to specifically address the issue of impulsivity and how his impulsive behaviors will be addressed. You would be best off to list each behavior individually and then note whether or not he will be held to the disciplinary code. Similar to my earlier post----you can write that YES, he will be held to it for swearing at people, leaving the building, and physically assaulting peopel, but NOT for swearing in response to something like stubbing his toe, leaving the room when stressed out, or throwing things in a non-aggressive situation (ie messing around in the lunch room, etc.). I think that this is murky water and it takes a very supportive team to has all of this out, but I also believe that a suspension for throwing a book is extreme. Especially for a student whi just cam off his medications---when the school was informed of this fact.

by the way--- If you do intend to go to the meeting and the sd is stating that they will hold the meeting at a time that is not convenient for you, send them a certified letter indicating your desire to be at the meeting and list the dates and times that you told them you could be available. They are require to act in good faith.



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I prepared a summary of his history, medications and discontinuation and prove of medical reason for stopping the medications, and a letter reevaluation to occur in Septmeber. Next I used his preveious Evaluations to prove there was no disciplinary action at all for over 18 months. Then I brought up about needing to provide the Procedural Safeguards. Next I demonstrated that only 2 of his teachers read the IEP, the 2 teachers classrooms where the behavioral problems existed never read the IEP. Then reviewed the last IEP meeting and stated as a team WE (including me as a parent)failed the student by not including a behavioral plan. The Supervisor of Special Education stated based onthe teachers evaluations I would not have thought a behavioral plan was needed. THe 2 teachers who were having the problems did not even address his behaviors in the summary (The principal, Guidance Counselor and Special Education person stated that this will be addressed withthe individuals and a standard format for evaluations needs to be utilized). After about 30 minutes of some give and take, the Supervisor of Special Education turned to me and said "I agree withthe parent that this is a Manifestation of his disability". THe guidance counselor, principal, learning support teacher also agreed. THen they did something I was only partially prepared for. THEY ASKED ME WHAT I THOUGHT WAS BEST FOR THE NEXT 4 DAYS. As a group we discussed the options and came to a joint decision. I think the best thing is that my son and a counselor (not fromwithin the school) will develop a behavioral plan and present to the IEP team for additonal recommendations and approval. Inadditon, the finals are scheduled. Because of the incident, I requested to have my son remain out of the hgh school for Tues, Wed and Thurs and take his finals on Friday in the learning support room. On Tuesday, Wed, Thurs he can attend his co-op setting.

SOMETIMES YOU JUST DO NOT GET WHAT YOU EXPECT. IT WAS BETTER THAN I ANTICIPATED!!! The supervisor of Special Education stated that the facts were well organized and clearly stated. FOR THAT I THANK ALL OF YOU WHO OFFERED ADVICE!!!!!

THANK YOU!! The SD is going to develop a better way to ensure the teachers read the IEP and the updated IEPs.

Today at work the Asssitant Superintendent called to thank me for pointing out areas in the system that needed improvement and asked if as a community member would I me interested in working on the process. OF course I said, Thanks for asking and yes I would like to.

So maybe I overlooked the behavior plan at the last IEP but I can and will find a way to improve the process and develop a way to monitor the process.

Again Thank you all


Super good!

So glad it worked out best for your son.

.... but I can and will find a way to improve the process and develop a way to monitor the process.

Go for it!


New Member


It is always wonderful to hear when something goes the way that it should!




Way to go. :D

It's so good to hear things worked out & you were able to work with reasonable people.