What Are the Discipline Procedures Under Section 504?
Some disciplinary procedures which apply to students with disabilities under IDEA also apply to §504 students. However students with disabilities under §504 who have been expelled do not have to be provided with educational services following expulsion, and there is no “stay put” requirement under §504.
If a student is being suspended for more than 10 days in a school year, the §504 Multidisciplinary Team must determine if the behavior that violated the school discipline code is related to the disability. This includes any accumulation of off-campus suspension days that exceeds 10 in one school year, long-term suspension, expulsion, and suspension or expulsion from a school bus (if that suspension results in the student missing school that day).
If the team determines that the behavior is caused by the disability, the Team should review the student’s Accommodation Plan, Behavior Plan, and placement to determine if they were appropriate and were being implemented as written. If they are no longer appropriate, some or all of these documents must be revised to insure that they remain appropriate to the student’s needs. If they were not implemented appropriately, this must be corrected immediately. The Team may also want to consider if any other changes need to be made to better meet the needs of the student. It is also important for the Team to decide if the student needs a Functional Behavior Assessment or a Behavior Plan, if one is not already in place.
The District may discipline a student with a disability under §504 who is currently using illegal drugs or alcohol to the same extent as action taken against non-disabled students. In such cases, §504 due process procedures, namely evaluation and manifestation determination, are not required. Special procedures also apply in the discipline of students with disabilities for possession of firearms.
When the discipline consequences that a student is to receive would constitute a “change of placement” (i.e., off-campus suspensions totaling more than 10 days in one school year, long- term suspension, or expulsion), whether or not a manifestation determination is conducted, the §504 Multidisciplinary Team is required to conduct an evaluation of the student’s needs and the appropriateness of his current accommodation plan. In most cases, this will be accomplished by the plan review process described above in this section.