The process of suspending a student with disabilities may turn out to be quite controversial and result in the rights of the said student being neglected. Therefore, it is crucial to follow the established standards for suspension, at the same time paying close attention to the investigation process to ensure that no other measure except suspension is applicable (“Public schools: Fourth Amendment — Search and seizure,” n.d.; Ingraham v. Wright 1977). The preliminary investigation is a particularly important part of the suspension process since it allows evaluating the extent of a student’s offense. In fact, at this stage, the idea of suspension as the only possible measure may come into question, which is why performing the investigation thoroughly is critical.
Identifying a relevant person should be deemed as the main step to take during the preliminary investigation process. The specified phase of suspension provides a student with a chance to defend themselves against the accusations and prove their point in case they are innocent of the actions o of which they are accused (The ACLU of Arizona, n.d.; Goss v. Lopez, 1978; Dryden & Cohen, 2016). The specified stage of the suspension process implies locating a person who can represent a student’s side and support them during the investigation and the following suspension.
For a student under eighteen, a parent or a legal guardian typically assumes the role of the relevant person to ensure that the rights of the said student are not infringed upon by the school administration. After the relevant person is identified, they are appointed for the student so that the latter could have the support and assistance needed to experience the suspension process (“Special education discipline: Suspensions and expulsions,” n.d.). Contacting the relevant person identified after the investigation is also essential since the parent or legal guardian can provide the student with the resources and information that they will need to argue the case represented by the school and, possibly, repel the suspension.
In case of a suspension, the school typically strives to minimize the harm done to all parties involved, which is why communicating with the administration and the school authorities is an absolute necessity. An IEP learner needs to converse with the school so that all participants could reach a complete understanding of what is happening and how to avoid similar situations in the future (“The Bill of Rights”). However, during the discussion with an IEP student in an environment that does not include their basic support system, namely, the organization that has the required knowledge and legal power to represent and support the student, present in the target setting, the threat of the school administration putting pressure on the said student becomes quite tangible.
Therefore, to ensure that the process of suspension occurs in a manner as fair and objective as possible, speaking to IEP students alone should not be considered a possibility. The presence of the Division of Family & Children Services (DFAC) members allows for maximum transparency during the process of suspension, which is why it is critical to introduce the specified body into the management of the suspension process (Gordon, 2017; Zirkel, 2017). The presence of the commission has to be seen as obligatory even in the cases that are seemingly unambiguous and point to the evident fault of a student and the need to apply appropriate repercussions to punish them for their misdemeanor.
Ensuring that the rights of IEP learners are protected is one of the core requirements of the school administration. Therefore, it is imperative to create a setting in which the investigation and assessment are as impartial as possible. The presence of the third party, which can be characterized as disinterested in the outcomes of the investigation, is absolutely indispensable. Thus, IEP students will gain a chance to be represented fairly and treated equally.
The ACLU of Arizona. (n.d.). Know your rights. Web.
The Bill of Rights. (2007). Web.
Dryden, C. A., & Cohen, J. (2016). Yearbook of education law. Web.
Gordon, V. A. (2017). Disciplining students receiving special education. Web.
Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565 (1975).
Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651 (1977).
Zirkel, P. A. (2017). RTI and other approaches to SLD identification under the IDEA: A legal update. Learning Disability Quarterly, 40(3), 165-173.