More information is available in our free On Demand Webinar about Discipline, Suspension and Expulsion.  Be sure to check out our Behavior Resources.


All schools maintain a code of conduct that outlines which types of student behavior are unacceptable and how students who engage in those behaviors will be disciplined. This is often included in the school building’s (or school district’s) student hand book.  Students are required to follow school rules, but they also have certain rights under the law to be treated fairly. All students have the right to know what their school’s rules are. If a student breaks a rule, state law limits the ways the student may be disciplined. In addition, students who receive special education services have further protections under state and federal laws that guarantee their right to receive a free appropriate public education

Understanding the how and why of discipline and alternate settings (NICHCY Legacy)

Suspension and Expulsion

“De-facto Suspension” and “undocumented suspensions” refer students with disabilities being asked to go home or be signed out of school instead of the child being suspended.  Sending a child with a disability home during the school day for not following school rules constitutes “de facto” suspension of a child from school. These days must be considered when determining whether a series of removals resulted in a change of educational placement or whether the child had been removed from school for more than ten cumulative days in a school year.

Manifestation Determination

At specific times, the law requires school systems to conduct what is known as a “manifestation determination review.”  In general, if a student has been suspended for more than ten days (ten days in a row, or ten days if days of suspension are added together), a manifestation determination review must be held.

The purpose of this review is to determine whether or not the child’s behavior is linked to his or her disability, or because the IEP was not fully implemented.  This is an important meeting, be aware that the district will proceed without the parent in attendance.

MDR Appeal

Suspension and Expulsion– from the Michigan Alliance for Families Webinar Series

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