This is a provision in the law in which the Individual Educational Plan (IEP)team determines if behavior resulting
in a disciplinary action is related to the child's disability. It is important
because of the freedom schools are given to remove students with disabilities from their classrooms. This provision is often
used to exclude children from inclusive settings, and is also used to remove children from non-inclusive settings due to disciplinary
Individuals with Disabilities
Education Improvement Act of 2004
Section 615 (k)(1)(E) (
E) MANIFESTATION DETERMINATION
(i) IN GENERAL -- Except as provided in subparagraph (B)removal for not more than ten 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 educational agency, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP Team (as determined by the parent and 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;
(II) if the conduct in question was the direct result of the local educational agency’s
failure to implement the IEP.
Burden Shifts Off Schools; Onto Parents. Before IDEA
2004, the burden was on the school district to show that the behavior resulting in a disciplinary action was not a manifestation
of the child’s disability before being able to apply the same disciplinary procedures the school uses for non-disabled
The IEP team was required
to conduct a comprehensive review of evaluation results, teacher and parent observations, appropriateness and implementation
of the IEP and whether the child’s disability impaired his or her ability to control the behavior or to understand the
impact and consequences of the behavior. This comprehensive review is no longer
part of the law.
The impact of this change is to
shift the burden of proving that the behavior was related to the disability to the parents who have to prove that the behavior
was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the disability. This will make it much easier to remove students
to an alternative setting where they will have to remain while a parent appeals the manifestation decision.
In the case of a child whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others,
IDEA requires the IEP team to consider the use of positive behavioral intervention and strategies to address the behavior.
Parents need to carefully consider their child’s behavioral issues when developing
an IEP and whether appropriate services and supports are being provided.
excellent information on positive behavioral supports, go to: http://www.nichcy.org/pubs1.htm and enter positive behavior supports in the search terms.