When a special education student is found to have violated the California Education Code, a school district is required to set up an IEP meeting which is to serve as a manifestation determination. A school district is also required to provide a special education student with a manifestation determination when that student has been suspended for ten or more school days within a single school year, as that is considered a change of placement.
A school district must conduct a manifestation determination within 10 school days of a decision to change the placement of a pupil with a disability due to a violation of the code of student conduct. The manifestation determination team must consist of a school district representative, the parents, and relevant members of the IEP team as determined by the parent and the school district.
Once this team has been assembled, the team must review all relevant information in the file of the child, including the IEP, any observations of teachers, and any relevant information from the parents, to determine if the child’s conduct was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child’s disability, or if the child’s conduct was the direct result of the district’s failure to implement the IEP.
If the team decides that either of the two factors applies, then the conduct must be determined to be a manifestation of the child’s disability. If it is determined to be a manifestation, a child cannot be expelled, and the school district is required to conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment of that child in order to provide further behavior interventions in the area related to the underlying incident. If the team determines that the child’s conduct was not a manifestation of his or her disability, the district may apply to the disabled child the same disciplinary procedures, in the same manner and for the same duration, as would be applied to a general education student.