Important Relevant Issues

Confidentiality of Information
Throughout the entire IEP process the school has to protect the confidentiality of the student. Some schools may think that providing a teacher with the IEP is a violation of the student's confidentiality, but the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act States that "if the disclosure is to other school officials, including teachers, within the educational institution or local education agency who have been determined by the agency or institution to have legitimate educational interests" the school does not need written consent from a parent. For more information about confidentiality see the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

Transition Services
At the age of 16 students are required to attend IEP meetings to discuss transition services with the IEP team. Transition services can be started earlier if the IEP teams deems it necessary, but the student must be at the meeting or appropriate measures must be taken to account for student preference. Transition services coordinate the transition between school and post school activities, such as secondary education, vocational training, employment, independent living, etc. These transitional decisions should be based on the students strengths/weaknesses, preferences, and the skills possessed by the individual. Once a decision has been made on the transition service a plan should be formed to allow the student to be able to fully reach this goal. In order for this to happen objectives, instruction needed, and other skills should be assessed and taken into account to prepare the individual for this transition.

Discipline of a Child with a Disability
Pursuant to IDEA, when disciplining a child with a disability, one must take that disability into consideration to determine the appropriateness of the disciplinary actions. For example, if a child with Autism is sensitive to loud noises, and she runs out of a room filled with loud noises due to sensory overload, appropriate disciplinary measure for that behavior (running out of the room) must take into account the child's disability; such as avoiding punishments that involve loud noises. Moreover, an assessment should be made as to whether appropriate accommodations were in place to meet the needs of the child. According to the United States Department of Education, in cases of children with disabilities who have been suspended for 10 or more days for each school year (including partial days), the local education agency (LEA) must hold a manifestation determination hearing within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child resulting from a violation of code of student conduct. The Stay Put law states that a child shall not be moved from his or her current placement or interim services into an alternative placement if the infraction was deemed to cause danger to other students. The LEA, the parent, and relevant members of the individualized education program (IEP) team (as determined by the parent and LEA) shall review all relevant information in the student's file, including the child's IEP, any teacher observations, and any relevant information provided by the parents to determine if the conduct in question was:
- Caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the child's disability; or
- The direct result of the LEA's failure to implement the IEP.

If the LEA, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP team make the determination that the conduct was a manifestation of the child's disability, the IEP team shall:
- Conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan for such child, provided that the LEA had not conducted such assessment prior to such determination before the behavior that resulted in a change in placement described in Section 615(k)(1)(C) or (G);
- In the situation where a behavioral intervention plan has been developed, review the behavioral intervention plan if the child already has such a behavioral intervention plan, and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior; and
- Except as provided in Section 615(k)(1)(G), return the child to the placement from which the child was removed, unless the parent and the LEA agree to a change of placement as part of the modification of the behavior intervention plan.

If it is determined that a student's behavior is a manifestation of his or her disability, then he or she may not be suspended or expelled. However, under IDEA 2004,if a student "brings a weapon to school or a school function; or knowingly possess, uses, or sells illegal drugs or controlled substances at school or a school function"; or causes "serious bodily injury upon another person," he or she may be placed in an interim alternate educational setting (IAES) for up to 45 school days. This allows the student to continue receiving educational services while the IEP team has time to determine the appropriate placement and the appropriate course of action including reviewing the FBA and the BIP.

Prohibition on Mandatory Medication
Due to allegations that school officials coerced parents into administering medication such as Ritalin to their child, an amendment to the IDEA was added called prohibition on mandatory medication. Schools may not require parents to obtain a controlled substance as a condition of:
-attending school
-receiving an evaluation or reevaluation
-receiving special education services