Bus Suspension Requires MDR Even if Parent Drives Student to School

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Melody Musgrove, the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provided guidance regarding a school district's obligation to conduct a manifestation determination when a child is suspended from school bus services [Letter to Sarnznyski 59 IDELR 141 (OSEP 2012)]. The student's IEP included transportation as a related service. The student was suspended from the bus but his in-school services were not interrupted or changed. Ms. Musgrove was asked whether a 10 day suspension from bus services was sufficient to trigger a manifestation determination if the other IEP services were uninterrupted because the parent drove the student to school during the bus suspension?

The answer is "Yes." If the student is suspended from transportation services that are included in the IEP for more than 10 consecutive school days, that is a change in placement requiring a manifestation determination. This is true even though the student's parent provided transportation. Moreover, if the student had previously been suspended, in that school year, from the bus, those days of suspension also count towards the 10 days that trigger a disciplinary change in placement. Thus, a series of disciplinary removals from bus services totaling more than 10 days in the school year trigger the IDEA discipline procedures, including the manifestation determination review.