The School Discipline Process

A Handbook for Maryland Families and Professionals

A Handbook for Maryland Families and Professionals
Disability Rights Maryland

Every year Maryland school systems suspend thousands of students, many of whom have disabilities. When students are suspended they lose instructional time
and their learning is interrupted. The shared goal of educators and families should be to keep students in school and learning. For students with disabilities, challenging behavior may interfere with that goal. How a school chooses to respond to behavior is critical, since responses such as suspension, expulsion, exclusion, seclusion and restraint are severe disciplinary consequences that can have a lasting impact on a student.

This handbook is intended to provide parents, guardians, caregivers and advocates with basic information about the disciplinary procedures in Maryland’s public
schools, the rights of students facing disciplinary removal, and the special protections under the law for students with disabilities who are disciplined.

This handbook also includes information on seclusion, exclusion and restraint in schools. Further, it discusses some of the preventative measures that schools can
use instead of suspensions, expulsions, restraint or seclusion. Finally, this handbook addresses some basic information about school-based referrals to the juvenile
justice system and exclusion from school due to certain arrests that occur in the community, sometimes referred to as “reportable offenses.”

It is important that you obtain and review your local school system policies, as each school district may implement disciplinary procedures in a slightly different way.
These policies can be found on a school system’s website. If you do not have access to a computer, ask your school for a copy of discipline policies and procedures and
the student handbook.

The School Discipline Process
A Handbook for Maryland Families and Professionals
Disability Rights Maryland, 2015