The manifestation determination IEP meeting is a meeting of the relevant members of the IEP team to determine whether a student with a disability may be recommended for expulsion from school or have her services and/or placement change to ensure FAPE. It should be held within 10 days of the school’s decision to expel the student or change her placement. At the meeting, the IEP team reviews the relevant information from the student’s file, including the IEP and any information from teachers and the parents and then decides two things: (1) Was the behavior caused by, or did it have “a direct and substantial relationship” to, the student’s disability, and (2) Was the behavior the direct result of the district’s failure to implement the IEP? [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.530(e).]
If the IEP team answers “YES” to either question, the student cannot be expelled and any placement change requires either the consent of the parent or an ALJ’s order. If the IEP team determines that the behavior is a manifestation of the student’s disability, then, unless the behavior is one of the serious offenses discussed below, the student must go back to her original placement (unless the parent and school agree otherwise). The school must also do a behavioral assessment for the student or modify the student’s existing behavior plan to address the behavior. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1415(k)(1)(F); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.530(f).] If the team answers “NO” to both questions, the student can be referred for expulsion.