High School Junior Avoids Alternative Placement After Manifestation Review
A suburban Midwest high school charged a high school junior with disrupting classes and disrespecting instructors, threatening the student's removal to an alternative high school far from the student's home and away from the student's supportive friends and teachers. The school principal and assistant principal maintained that the student had engaged in repeated outbursts that appeared to intimidate and threaten two classroom instructors while disturbing student peers in the class. The school offered to send the student to the district's alternative high school outside the suburb. When the student's parents retained the Lento Law Firm's student defense team, an investigation confirmed that the student was under an IEP for Asperger's syndrome and autism spectrum diagnoses. The IEP required the school to give the student medication and periodic breaks away from the classroom. Further investigation revealed that the offended instructors had refused those reasonable accommodations, contributing to the student's outbursts. These facts came to light in a manifestation determination the school conducted on the law firm's timely, respectful, and lawful demand. Federal law requires the school to conduct such a determination whenever discipline threatens to alter a student's IEP. Rather than remove the student, the school agreed to comply with the IEP, reinstating the student in the traditional classroom. Subsequent follow-up with the family indicated no further problems for the student who progressed toward graduation from the traditional school.