Essay on Special Needs in Education

Published: 2021/11/22
Number of words: 795

Schools are granted the autonomy and the mandate to discipline all learners, whether they have learning or thinking differences. School rules must be followed to the latter, including by learners on Individualized Education Program (IEP) or students with disabilities and have formal plans developed by the schools (504 Plan). An environment that is orderly and safe for learning should be maintained at all times in public schools according to federal and state laws; hence the rule of behaviors contained in the code of conduct in public schools. Attendance requirements, academic rules, dress code, no smoking, no disrupting of classes and no obscene language are examples of rules that might be contained in the code of conduct. Consequences for breach of the code should be clearly spelled out.

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The school is given the mandate to discipline a learner if they misbehave and breach school rules. There is a wide range of disciplinary action that can fall within the brackets of traditional to the more progressive and from minor to the more serious. Suspension, detention, increased schoolwork, expulsion, seclusion, and parent contact are some of the examples of the methods employed by schools to discipline students. In the same breadth, special protection is provided by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to learners on IEPs as well as those on 504 plans. However, learners covered in the protection should not take advantage of this and break school rules blatantly.

Services on IEP and 504 plans are not received if a student is found culpable of breaking school rules. When the “10 day rule” by IDEA is invoked, it requires those services to be provided to the student wherever they are after a certain amount of time. The student is treated just like her peers if she is removed from school for 10 days or less. For instance, if fighting results in the student being sent home for seven days, there is application of normal school policies for suspended learners. When the removal from school reaches more than 10 days, under IDEA, it is regarded as a change in placement. A total of 10 days is the requirement and they days do not have to be 10 days in a row. In this case, a special education teacher can be involved through provision of continuation of classes via video conferencing technology. Weekend classes as well as small duration classes from the teacher may have a boosting effect for the learners (Kirby, 2017).

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In the event of a change in placement, increased protections are provided by IDEA. Prompt notification in writing by the school is necessary as well as legal protections and rights should be spelled out. Educational services in the new “placement” should be received by the student starting on the 11th day if the services are not yet being provided. A “manifestation determination”, which is a special review, should be conducted by the school to determine if a child’s misbehavior is directly contributed by their disability. This is why there is need for specific provisions regarding discipline for learners on IEP and 504 plans.

A student’s misbehavior can be directly contributed by his/her disability, such as, thinking and learning differences, and this should be looked at by the IEP team during manifestation determination. The big question posed therefore is, is her thinking and learning difference manifested through behavior? More protections apply if the answer to the question is affirmative. A student’s IEP file, his current misbehavior and any other observations are the relevant information taken into consideration by the IEP team in order to answer the aforementioned question. The team also needs to consider that maybe some IEP aspects were not adhered to. For instance, maybe there was rescheduling of a weekly counseling session and this made the student to react. Manifestation determination can result in three scenarios. Firstly, the student’s disability can be cited as the cause of his/her behavior. In this case, the misbehavior can be minimized through development of a behavior intervention plan by the IEP team. Secondly, Some IEP aspects may not have been followed thus resulting in the misbehavior. In this event, the IEP or 504 plan needs to be implemented properly. Thirdly, the student’s disability may be found not to have had an influence on his/her behavior. In this eventuality, the school is at liberty to treat the learner as if they were not on the 504 plan or IEP (Zhang et al., 2014).


Kirby, M. (2017). Implicit assumptions in special education policy: Promoting full inclusion for students with learning disabilities. In Child & Youth Care Forum (Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 175-191). Springer US.

Zhang, D., Katsiyannis, A., and Herbst, M. (2004). Disciplinary exclusions in special education: A 4-year analysis. Behavioral Disorders, 29, 337-347.

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