DISCIPLINE - Regulations

1. Add a new authority for school personnel to consider unique circumstances.

School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when determining whether a change in placement, consistent with the other requirements of 34 CFR 300.530, is appropriate for a child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct.
[34 CFR 300.530(a)] [20 U.S.C. 1415(k)(1)(A)]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. Given the wide range of cognitive, learning, and social/emotional issues presented by students with disabilities, from your stakeholder perspective, what are some examples of unique circumstances schools might consider that would influence decision-making regarding a change of placement for violation of a code of conduct?

  2. What do you see as the intended outcome of this provision?

  3. From your viewpoint, are the zero tolerance provisions of the Elementary and /Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the unique circumstances provision in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA’04) compatible?

  4. Do you feel that stakeholders, particularly students with disabilities and families, are currently being informed of the code of student conduct in your district/school? What processes have either facilitated or impeded the sharing of this information with all stakeholders?

  5. Do you believe that the student code of conduct as used with students with more significant disabilities has been or is being interpreted in a fair and equitable manner? Please give some examples from your experience.

Application Questions

  1. What guidelines will be used within your district to determine what unique circumstances are?

  2. Who are the school personnel who need to be involved in decision-making relative to this provision? What are the areas of expertise (knowledge and skills) that these persons will need in order to effectively implement the special circumstances provision? (i.e., medical health concerns, mental health concerns, cognitive development)

  3. Often those who will be subject to the code of conduct consequences are those who have not been adequately informed. What are the best ways to assure that stakeholders (especially students with disabilities and families) are informed of the code of student conduct and the implications relative to violations?

  4. What do students need in order to follow a school code of conduct successfully?

  5. To effectively support children in following school codes of conduct, what do parents need?
    • What do teachers and other school personnel need?
    • What do other supporting agencies need?

  6. How will the school/district ensure equity and fairness regarding discipline codes of conduct and the consequences for violations?

  7. What is the role of parents in application of this section of IDEA involving their child?

  8. How might differences (e.g., specific offenses and consequences) among schools’ codes of conduct in a district/state impact the application of this provision?

  9. How will standards be developed that can be used by hearing officers to determine acceptable/non-acceptable unique circumstances? How will it be best to train SEA hearing officers and mediators concerning unique circumstances?

  10. What best practices can be put into place to resolve disputes prior to involving hearing officers?

    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: Service Provider
    Location: Alaska

    Role: Service Provider
    Location: California

    Role: Educational Consultant
    Location: Florida

    Role: Higher Education
    Location: Indiana

    Role: Family
    Location: New Jersey

    Role: Teacher
    Location: Pennsylvania

    Role: Administrator
    Location: Pennsylvania

    Role: Teacher
    Location: South Carolina

    Role: Teacher
    Location: West Virginia