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