2023, July: A Common Question from the 2023 Legal Seminars

Question:  If a principal needs to send a K-3 student who receives special education services home, should this be documented in DIRS (Discipline Incident Reporting System) since it is not considered a suspension?

Short Answer: Yes, if a K-3 student with an IEP is dismissed for one-half day or more, it needs to be reported in DIRS.  

Long Answer: Yes, for students with IEPs, please report any dismissal/removal of one-half day or more, such as sending a student home early, in DIRS. While those shorter dismissals don’t meet the PFDA definition of suspension, they must still be reported based on federal reporting requirements, which use a different definition of “out-of-school suspension” than Minnesota’s PFDA. 

Specifically, the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection uses this definition: “For students with disabilities served under IDEA: Out-of-school suspension is an instance in which a child is temporarily removed from his/her regular school for at least half a day for disciplinary purposes to another setting (e.g., home, behavior center).”

This answer comes from Kimberly Cooper, J.D., Office of General Counsel-Dispute Resolution at the Minnesota Department of Education.

Resources from The Legal Framework of School Discipline

Slide Deck


Manifestation Determination Flow Chart


Pupil Fair Dismissal Act


More information and resources can be found on MDE's Student Discipline Webpage. 

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