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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 8. Education
Agency 20. State Board Of Education
Chapter 81. Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia
12/1/2021

8VAC20-81-160. Discipline procedures.

A. General. (§ 22.1-277 of the Code of Virginia; 34 CFR 300.530(a); 34 CFR 300.324(a)(2)(i))

1. A child with a disability shall be entitled to the same due process rights that all children are entitled to under the Code of Virginia and the local educational agency's disciplinary policies and procedures.

2. In the event that the child's behavior impedes the child's learning or that of others, the IEP team shall consider the use of positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address the behavior. The IEP team shall consider either:

a. Developing goals and services specific to the child's behavioral needs; or

b. Conducting a functional behavioral assessment and determining the need for a behavioral intervention plan to address the child's behavioral needs.

3. School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when deciding whether or not to order a change in placement for a child with a disability that violates a code of student conduct.

a. In reviewing the disciplinary incident, school personnel may review the child's IEP and any behavioral intervention plan, or consult with the child's teacher(s) to provide further guidance in considering any unique circumstances related to the incident.

b. School personnel may convene an IEP team for this purpose.

B. Short-term removals.

1. A short-term removal is for a period of time of up to 10 consecutive school days or 10 cumulative school days in a school year. (34 CFR 300.530(b))

a. School personnel may short-term remove a child with a disability from the child's current educational setting to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension, to the extent those alternatives are applied to a child without disabilities.

b. Additional short-term removals may apply to a child with a disability in a school year for separate incidents of misconduct as long as the removals do not constitute a pattern. If the short-term removals constitute a pattern, the requirements of subsection C of this section apply.

(1) The local educational agency determines when isolated, short-term removals for unrelated instances of misconduct are considered a pattern.

(2) These removals only constitute a change in placement if the local educational agency determines there is a pattern.

2. Services during short-term removals.

a. The local educational agency is not required to provide services during the first 10 school days in a school year that a child with a disability is short-term removed if services are not provided to a child without a disability who has been similarly removed. (34 CFR 300.530(b)(2))

b. For additional short-term removals, which do not constitute a pattern, the local educational agency shall provide services to the extent determined necessary to enable the student to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the goals of the student's IEP. School personnel, in consultation with the student's special education teacher, make the service determinations. (34 CFR 300.530(b)(2))

c. For additional short-term removals that do not constitute a pattern, the local educational agency shall ensure that children with disabilities are included in the Virginia Department of Education and divisionwide assessment programs in accordance with the provisions of subdivision 4 of 8VAC20-81-20. (20 USC § 1412(a)(16)(A))

C. Long-term removals.

1. A long-term removal is for more than 10 consecutive school days; or (34 CFR 300.530; 34 CFR 300.536)

2. The child has received a series of short-term removals that constitutes a pattern:

a. Because the removals cumulate to more than 10 school days in a school year;

b. Because the child's behavior is substantially similar to the child's behavior in previous incidents that results in a series of removals; and

c. Because of such additional factors such as the length of each removal, the total amount of time the student is removed, and the proximity of the removals to one another.

3. The local educational agency determines on a case-by-case basis whether a pattern of removals constitutes a change in placement. This determination is subject to review through due process and judicial proceedings. (34 CFR 300.530(a) and (b) and 34 CFR 300.536)

4. On the date on which the decision is made to long-term remove the student because of a violation of a code of student conduct, the local educational agency shall notify the parent(s) of the decision and provide the parent(s) with the procedural safeguards. (34 CFR 300.530(h))

5. Special circumstances. (34 CFR 300.530(g))

a. School personnel may remove a child with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for the same amount of time that a child without a disability would be subject to discipline, but for not more than 45 school days without regard to whether the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the child's disability, if:

(1) The child carries a weapon to or possesses a weapon at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of a local educational agency or the Virginia Department of Education; or

(2) The child knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of a local educational agency or the Virginia Department of Education; or

(3) The child inflicts serious bodily injury upon another person at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of a local educational agency or the Virginia Department of Education.

b. For purposes of this part, "weapon," "controlled substance," and "serious bodily injury" have the meaning given the terms under 8VAC20-81-10.

6. Services during long-term removals.

a. A child with a disability who is long-term removed receives services during the disciplinary removal so as to enable the student to: (34 CFR 300.530(d))

(1) Continue to receive educational services so as to enable the student to continue to participate in the general educational curriculum, although in another setting;

(2) Continue to receive those services and modifications including those described in the child's current IEP that will enable the child to progress toward meeting the IEP goals; and

(3) Receive, as appropriate, a functional behavioral assessment, and behavioral intervention services and modifications, that are designed to address the behavior violation so that it does not recur.

b. For long-term removals, the local educational agency shall ensure that children with disabilities are included in the Virginia Department of Education and divisionwide assessment programs in accordance with the provisions of subdivision 4 of 8VAC20-81-20. (20 USC § 1412(a)(16)(A))

c. The IEP team determines the services needed for the child with a disability who has been long-term removed. (34 CFR 300.530(d)(5) and 34 CFR 300.531)

D. Manifestation determination. (34 CFR 300.530(c), (e), (f), and (g))

1. Manifestation determination is required if the local educational agency is contemplating a removal that constitutes a change in placement for a child with a disability who has violated a code of student conduct of the local educational agency that applies to all students.

2. The local educational agency, the parent(s), and relevant members of the child's IEP team, as determined by the parent and the local educational agency, constitute the IEP team that shall convene immediately, if possible, but not later than 10 school days after the date on which the decision to take the action is made.

3. The IEP team shall review all relevant information in the child's file, including the child's IEP, any teacher observations, and any relevant information provided by the parent(s).

4. The IEP team then shall determine the conduct to be a manifestation of the child's disability:

(1) If the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child's disability; or

(2) If the conduct in question was the direct result of the local educational agency's failure to implement the child's IEP.

5. If the IEP team determines that the local educational agency failed to implement the child's IEP, the local educational agency shall take immediate steps to remedy those deficiencies.

6. If the IEP team determines that the child's behavior was a manifestation of the child's disability:

a. The IEP team shall return the child to the placement from which the child was removed unless the parent and the local educational agency agree to a change in placement as part of the modification of the behavioral intervention plan. The exception to this provision is when the child has been removed for not more than 45 school days to an interim alternative educational setting for matters described in subdivision C 5 a of this section. In that case, school personnel may keep the student in the interim alternative educational setting until the expiration of the 45-day period.

(1) Conduct a functional behavioral assessment, unless the local educational agency had conducted this assessment before the behavior that resulted in the change in placement occurred, and implement a behavioral intervention plan for the child.

(a) A functional behavioral assessment may include a review of existing data or new testing data or evaluation as determined by the IEP team.

(b) If the IEP team determines that the functional behavioral assessment will include obtaining new testing data or evaluation, then the parent is entitled to an independent educational evaluation in accordance with 8VAC20-81-170 B if the parent disagrees with the evaluation or a component of the evaluation obtained by the local educational agency; or

(2) If a behavioral intervention plan already has been developed, review this plan, and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior.

7. If the IEP team determines that the child's behavior was not a manifestation of the child's disability, school personnel may apply the relevant disciplinary procedures to children with disabilities in the same manner and for the same duration as the procedures would be applied to children without disabilities, except that services shall be provided in accordance with subdivision C 6 a of this section.

E. Appeal. (34 CFR 300.532(a) and (c))

1. If the child's parent(s) disagrees with the determination that the student's behavior was not a manifestation of the student's disability or with any decision regarding placement under these disciplinary procedures, the parent(s) may request an expedited due process hearing.

2. A local educational agency that believes that maintaining the current placement of the child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or others, may request an expedited due process hearing.

3. The local educational agency is responsible for arranging the expedited due process in accordance with the Virginia Department of Education's hearing procedures at 8VAC20-81-210.

a. The hearing shall occur within 20 school days of the date the request for the hearing is filed.

b. The special education hearing officer shall make a determination within 10 school days after the hearing.

c. Unless the parent(s) and the local educational agency agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting, or agree to use the mediation process:

(1) A resolution meeting shall occur within 7 calendar days of receiving the request for a hearing.

(2) The due process hearing may proceed unless the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties within 15 calendar days of the receipt of the request for a hearing.

d. The decisions on expedited due process hearings are appealable consistent with 8VAC20-81-210.

F. Authority of the special education hearing officer. (34 CFR 300.532(a) and (b))

1. A local educational agency may request an expedited due process hearing under the Virginia Department of Education's due process hearing procedures to effect a change in placement of a child with a disability for not more than 45 school days without regard to whether the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the child's disability, if the local educational agency believes that the child's behavior is substantially likely to result in injury to self or others.

2. The special education hearing officer under 8VAC20-81-210 may:

a. Return the child with a disability to the placement from which the child was removed if the special education hearing officer determines that the removal was a violation of subsections C and D of this section, or that the child's behavior was a manifestation of the child's disability; or

b. Order a change in the placement to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 school days if the special education hearing officer determines that maintaining the current placement of the child is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or others.

3. A local educational agency may ask the special education hearing officer for an extension of 45 school days for the interim alternative educational setting of a child with a disability when school personnel believe that the child's return to the regular placement would result in injury to the student or others.

G. Placement during appeals. (34 CFR 300.533)

1. The child shall remain in the interim alternative educational setting pending the decision of the special education hearing officer; or

2. Until the expiration of the time for the disciplinary period set forth in this section, whichever comes first, unless the parent and the local educational agency agree otherwise.

H. Protection for children not yet eligible for special education and related services. (34 CFR 300.534)

1. A child who has not been determined to be eligible for special education and related services and who has engaged in behavior that violates a code of student conduct of the local educational agency may assert any of the protections provided in this chapter if the local educational agency had knowledge that the child was a child with a disability before the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action occurred.

2. A local educational agency shall be deemed to have knowledge that a child is a child with a disability if before the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action occurred:

(a) The parent(s) of the child expressed concern in writing (or orally if the parent(s) does not know how to write or has a disability that prevents a written statement) to school personnel that the child is in need of special education and related services;

(b) The parent(s) of the child requested an evaluation of the child to be determined eligible for special education and related services; or

(c) A teacher of the child or school personnel expressed concern about a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the child directly to the director of special education of the local educational agency or to other supervisory personnel of the local educational agency.

3. A local educational agency would not be deemed to have knowledge that a child is a child with a disability if:

(a) The parent of the child has not allowed a previous evaluation of the child or has refused services; or

(b) The child has been evaluated in accordance with 8VAC20-81-70 and 8VAC20-81-80 and determined ineligible for special education and related services.

4. If the local educational agency does not have knowledge that a child is a child with a disability prior to taking disciplinary measures against the child, the child may be subjected to the same disciplinary measures applied to a child without a disability who engages in comparable behaviors.

5. If a request is made for an evaluation of a child during the time period in which the child is subjected to disciplinary measures under this section, the evaluation shall be conducted in an expedited manner.

a. Until the evaluation is completed, the child remains in the educational placement determined by the school personnel, which can include suspension or expulsion without educational services.

b. If the child is determined to be a child with a disability, taking into consideration information from the evaluations conducted by the local educational agency and information provided by the parent(s), the local educational agency shall provide special education and related services as required for a child with a disability who is disciplined.

I. Referral to and action by law enforcement and judicial authorities. (34 CFR 300.535)

1. Nothing in this chapter prohibits a local educational agency from reporting a crime by a child with a disability to appropriate authorities, or prevents state law enforcement and judicial authorities from exercising their responsibilities with regard to the application of federal and state law to crimes committed by a child with a disability to the extent such action applies to a student without a disability.

2. In reporting the crime, the local educational agency shall ensure that copies of the special education and disciplinary records of the child are transmitted for consideration by the appropriate authorities to whom school personnel report the crime. Transmission of such records shall be in accordance with requirements under the Management of the Student's Scholastic Record in the Public Schools of Virginia (8VAC20-150).

J. Information on disciplinary actions. (34 CFR 300.229)

1. The Virginia Department of Education requires that local educational agencies include in the records of a child with a disability a statement of any current or previous disciplinary action that has been taken against the child.

2. Local educational agencies are responsible for transmitting the statement to the Virginia Department of Education upon request to the same extent that the disciplinary information is included in, and transmitted with, the student records of nondisabled students.

3. The statement may include:

a. A description of any behavior engaged in by the child who required disciplinary action;

b. A description of the disciplinary action; and

c. Any other information that is relevant to the safety of the child and other individuals involved with the child.

4. If the child transfers from one school to another, the transmission of any of the child's records shall include the child's current IEP and any statement of current or previous disciplinary action that has been taken against the child.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-214 of the Code of Virginia; 20 USC § 1400 et seq.; 34 CFR Part 300.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 25, Issue 21, eff. July 7, 2009.

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