A student with a disability (a student who has an IEP or 504 Plan) who is suspended or removed from the classroom for disciplinary reasons may be entitled to a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR). An MDR is a proceeding that is held to ensure that a student is not being disciplined for behavior that directly results from (a) his or her disability and/or (b) the school’s failure to implement his or her Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan.
Students with disabilities are entitled to MDRs if the discipline imposed by the school is a disciplinary change in placement. A disciplinary change of placement occurs if the student will be removed from his/her current educational program for (1) more than 10 consecutive school days; (2) more than 10 cumulative school days in a 40-school-day period; or (3) more than 10 cumulative school days in a school year as a result of disciplinary actions that constitute a pattern of removals.
If the behavior is found to be a direct result of the student's disability or the school’s failure to implement the IEP or 504 Plan, the student generally will return to his or her school. However, if the student was suspended for an incident related to weapons or drugs, or which resulted in serious bodily injury, the student may be removed to an Alternate Learning Center for up to 45 days. If the behavior that led to the disciplinary action is not found to be a direct result of the student’s disability, then the student may be subject to disciplinary action. Whether or not the behavior is a manifestation of the student’s disability, the school will take additional steps to examine the student’s behavior and provide additional supports where needed. When a student with a disability is suspended for more than 10 consecutive school days, a suspension plan will be developed by the school or the suspension site that describes the special education supports and services the student will receive during the period of his or her suspension.
To Appeal the MDR Action
In accordance with the IDEIA, a parent may request an expedited Impartial Hearing to appeal the MDR outcome. Learn more by visiting the Impartial Hearing Office website and/or by reviewing the New York State Procedural Safeguards Notice.
If the parent wishes to appeal the suspension, the appeal must be made to the Superintendent or the Chancellor according to the procedures set forth in Chancellor’s Regulation A-443.