There are a number of rules and procedures that must be followed when dealing with students in special education who receive instruction through their individualized education plan (IEP). These students in special education are protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which is legislation that presides over the special education process for students until they reach the legal age of twenty-one. These laws that ensure that special education students receive a quality, free education but they can complicate the discipline process for school administrators.
A normal school day in March 2008 changed drastically for a variety of stakeholders in the Sigourney Community School District. It was near the end of my first year in Sigourney as a special education teacher in Sigourney. I happened to be in the principal's office discussing special education student scheduling options for the upcoming 2008-2009 school year when our city police chief and county chief deputy, accompanied by area state patrol officers all entered our school office. They were their for a unannounced school safety check. During this check officers from the city, county, and state police departments first went from one car to the next checking vehicles for alcohol, drugs, and weapons. After their walk through the school parking lot the officers made their way into the school where they conducted locker searchers from various According to our building principal, Jeff Kirby (2010) , this was the beginning to his “worst day ever as an administrator”.
According to Superintendent of schools Todd Abrahamson (2010), at the end of the day's school safety check, officers wrote citations to seven different students of the Sigourney Community School District. Four students received citations for having alcohol in their vehicles. These citations were written as possession by a minor, and possession of an illegal substance on
STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
school grounds. Of these four students, one was a student on an individualized educational plan. The student, a junior at Sigourney High School, had been diagnosed with dyslexia and was currently receiving individualized support in the area of reading fluency and comprehension. Mr. Kirby stated that he was at first very unsure of how to handle the discipline for this student. The other three students were disciplined according to the district's good conduct policy in the student handbook. For two of these students it was their first offense. They each received a three week suspension from all extra curricular activities for their violation of the good conduct policy. The other student had one prior offense school policy. This students penalties were more severe. He was suspended from all extra curricular activities for twelve calendar weeks, along with a 3 day out-of-school suspension.
Superintendent Abrahamson dealt with the discipline of the student on the IEP. According to Mr....