Alabama High School Principals' Knowledge Level of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Discipline Mandates
Type of DegreeDissertation
Leadership and Technology
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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was amended in 1997 to create additional protections for students with disabilities who violate a school’s code of conduct. Prior to the IDEA, students with disabilities could be removed from school due to disciplinary issues just as any other student in the school. The discipline mandates of IDEA have created a dual system of discipline for students with disabilities and students who have not been identified with a disability. School principals are responsible for seeing that the discipline mandates of IDEA are implemented correctly for all special education students who exhibit behavior that violates a school’s code of conduct. The portion of IDEA that exemplifies the manner in which special education students receive additional protections is the 10-day suspension limit that was created in IDEA 97. Special education students cannot be suspended for more than 10 school days in a calendar school year unless a meeting takes place that determines that the infractions committed by the special education student were a manifestation of his or her disability. High school principals must be aware of the intricacies of the IDEA discipline mandates so that their respective school systems can avoid unnecessary litigation on behalf of special education parents and advocates. High school principals must also be aware of the IDEA discipline mandates in order to see that special education students are afforded due process and given an opportunity to succeed in school rather than being immediately removed due to improper conduct in school.