Special Education Student Removal Litigation on the Rise

Volume 30, No. 2

Here’s a common problem: one of your students threatens school violence, brings a weapon to school, intentionally hurts a classmate or teacher, or otherwise engages in dangerous behavior. The principal suspends the student for 10 days and, after reviewing and investigating the behavior, the administration determines that the student was deliberately disobedient or deliberately disorderly, and that their removal is necessary for the peace and usefulness of the school. In other words, the administration believes it is time to move forward with an expulsion hearing. But wait! The student receives special education services, and the parents just informed you that they have hired a lawyer and plan to sue the school if the student is expelled.

As a result of the increase in school violence nationally, schools in Maine appear more willing than ever before to consider long term removal of students for aggression or credible threats of violence. At the same time, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of families who hire lawyers to fight expulsions or other disciplinary removals. This is particularly true in cases involving special education students. This article touches on some of the key legal requirements in this area, identifies the top three errors school administrative units make when considering special education student removals, and provides some solutions to help avoid litigation.

Key Legal Requirements – In Brief
The majority of our readers already know that state and federal regulations leave short-term special education student removals and more minor discipline untouched.  However, once a student has been removed from school for 10 cumulative days over the course of a school year…To continue reading, visit https://schoollaw.com/school-law-advisory.

The School Law Advisory is a quarterly publication that addresses key issues in school law, including school finance, employment, collective bargaining, student rights and special education. If you keep up with the School Law Advisory, you keep up with school law. Don’t miss out, subscribe today!