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By Candace Cortiella, The Advocacy Institute
Under certain circumstances, the protections available to a student with a disability who is already eligible for special education services may also be available to a student who does not have an IEP in effect. These circumstances may apply to any student:
Certain exceptions apply to the above circumstances. They include:
If a request is made to evaluate a student during the time period of the disciplinary action, the school must complete the evaluation as quickly as possible. During the evaluation, the student remains in the interim alternative educational setting.
Provisions in IDEA 2004 allow schools to provide early intervening services to students who are considered "at risk." At-risk students are those who show a need for additional academic or behavioral support to succeed in general education, but who are not identified as needing special education. In addition, IDEA 2004 allows schools to use a "response-to-intervention" (RTI) process as part of its procedures for identifying students as having specific learning disabilities and needing special education. A child in either the "at risk" or "RTI" circumstances may not be considered to possibly need special education services unless at least one of the first three bulleted conditions in the section above has been met.
IDEA's provisions regarding the discipline of students with disabilities are complex and often confusing. If your child becomes the focus of a disciplinary action, you should seek information and guidance from expert resources such as your state's Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC).
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