Behavior & Discipline

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Manifestation Determination

A manifestation determination is a process, required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), which is conducted when considering the exclusion of a student with a disability that constitutes a change in placement.

Manifestation Determination Worksheet, PA Department of Education
When is a Threat a Threat? The Rights of Students with Disabilities in School

With the increase in incidents of school violence across the United States, school districts are becoming increasingly vigilant in responding to threats. There are no clear criteria for determining whether or not a statement or behavior by a student with a disability in school is considered to be a threat. It is important not to get caught up in the world of threats, but rather to think about each student as an individual and evaluate the specific situation in light of the student’s disability.


Truancy means having three or more unexcused absences in the current school year. These absences do not need to be in a row. These resources help families understand truancy and school attendance in Pennsylvania.
FAQ: Truancy and School Attendance in Pennsylvania, Education Law Center of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s New Truancy Law (November 2016), Education Law Center of Pennsylvania (Governor Wolf signed new truancy legislation into law on Thursday, November 3, 2016. Here is an overview of key provisions.)

Behavior & Discipline Resources

Pennsylvania Quick Guide to Special Education Dispute Resolution/Enspañol
Obligations of School Districts to Address Truancy of Special Education Students, McAndrews LLC
Discipline of Special Education Students, McAndrews LLC
School Districts’ Responsibilities for Students with School Avoidance Issues, McAndrews LLC
ELC Fairness in School Discipline Guide, Education Law Center of Pennsylvania
Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion, PaTTAN
Assessments and Universal Screeners, PaTTAN
Classroom Management Webinar Series, PaTTAN

Office for Dispute Resolution Resources

Alternative Dispute Resolution
The Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) provides alternative dispute resolution activities and options to avoid due process (mediation can also be used to resolve dispute instead of due process under IDEA). The alternative dispute resolution options that ODR offers have shown to be successful in helping IEP teams (families and schools) move to resolution. 



Even when the parents/guardian and schools try their best to reach agreement on a student’s special education program, disagreements can occur. If this happens, mediation, which is a free, voluntary, and confidential alternative to a formal due process hearing, is an option.

Due Process

Parents or educational agencies may resolve educational disputes through a mechanism called due process. Due process differs from other dispute resolution opportunities in that a Hearing Officer decides the dispute for the parties.

Dispute Resolution Manual/Español