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Suspension and Explusion

Piper Paul Law knows that disabilities can have various effects on your child’s behavior. Just as the disability is addressed in the educational context, it must also be addressed and considered during the school disciplinary process. Parents are often not aware of their child’s rights when it comes to disciplinary matters, especially those that would cause the child to be expelled from school, which is a change in placement under the law.

Suspensions vs. Change in Placement

Districts may suspend children with and without disabilities who violate a code of conduct not more than 10 consecutive school days. In December 2010, Connecticut enacted CGS 10-233(g) which establishes that the suspension must be an in-school suspension (vs. out of school suspension) unless certain conditions are met. A pattern of shorter removals adding up to more than 10 school days can be considered a change of placement, triggering legal protections for all students.

For students with and without disabilities, suspensions beyond 10 days are considered a change in placement and there are two legal concerns. The first concern is if your child has been suspended more than 10 days, there may be an issue with the appropriateness of your child’s program and you should speak with a seasoned and experienced attorney as soon as possible. If your child has a 504 Plan or an IEP or should have been identified as a student with a disability and is facing expulsion, they have a right to a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR). This is a very important meeting and you should be represented by an experienced and seasoned education attorney.

Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) PPT

If your child has a 504 plan or IEP or should have been identified as a student with a disability, your child is entitled to a manifestation determination review (MDR) prior to expulsion. Sometimes the district will state, “We are having a PPT or a 504 meeting to discuss the incident, are you available?” Parents often do not understand the significance of the MDR and the importance of bringing an experienced, seasoned attorney. The team at the MDR must determine:

  • If the behavior in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability, or;
  • If the behavior in question was the direct result of the district’s failure to implement the IEP/504 Plan.

If the answer to either of the two questions above is yes, then the behavior is a manifestation of the child’s disability and the child cannot be expelled. The team must then either conduct a functional behavior assessment (FBA) and implement a behavior intervention plan (BIP) or if one was already conducted and a BIP is in place, modify the BIP.

A student who has not been determined eligible for special education and related services under IDEA or a 504 plan may assert protections under the law if the district had knowledge the student had a disability. You should contact a seasoned and experienced education attorney to discuss your concerns and options.


An expulsion is a long-term removal from school for more than 10 days. There are procedural rules school districts must follow. If your child has a disability or is suspected of having a disability, there are protections that provide further protection. If your child does not have a disability, Piper Paul Law has two former prosecutors (Attorney Paul and Attorney Seeliger) with lots of investigative and litigation experience.

Under the Gun-Free Schools Act, there are certain actions that are considered mandatory actions. These include a weapon on school grounds; possession, use, sale, solicitation or sale of controlled substances; and the infliction of serious bodily injury during school, on school grounds, or at a school function. While considered mandatory acts of expulsion, there are still mitigating factors that can come into play that the Board of Education and/or Hearing Officer can take into consideration when determining the length of the expulsion period.

It is very important that you seek the advice of an experienced and seasoned attorney when your child faces a disciplinary matter because there is much at stake. The decision reached can have long-term implications on college applications, future employment, and future life decisions.

Due to the long-reaching consequences of disciplinary matters, having an attorney well-versed in student disciplinary matters at your side is crucial. Failure to do so could result in your child experiencing unwanted and undeserved consequences. Piper Paul Law knows how stressful these situations can be and can provide the guidance and knowledge needed to protect your child and ensure that your child isn’t unfairly punished. Contact us today and find out how we can help.


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Westport, CT 06880

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