Were the student’s actions a manifestation of the student’s disability? The need for policy change and guidance

Maria M. Lewis


Under federal special education law, before a school district may discipline a student with a disability for greater than 10 days, it must first determine whether the student’s actions were a manifestation of his or her disability (IDEA, 2004). This requirement, referred to as manifestation determination review (MDR), aims to ensure that students with disabilities do not experience a significant disciplinary change in placement for actions that are caused by their disabilities. This article will discuss the evolution of the legal standard and the policy implications of a study that examined 80 MDR decisions in one large urban school district. 


policy implementation; special education; education law; student discipline

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.2880

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