learning disabled

Discipline and Students


Read the following scenario and answer the questions that follow.

James is a 9th grade student at Alma High School, which is a small rural school in the south. In 6th grade James was diagnosed as learning disabled and he was referred to as a potential special education student by his reading teacher. James has also been treated medically since the 4th grade for attention deficit disorder.

James had a Unit Science test in 5th period which he was not prepared for and he knew he was not going to pass. By not passing the test this would drop his overall grade and this would not allow him to remain on the football team. James talked to a few of his friends and they came up with a plan to get them out of the test as they all knew they would fail. They decided that if they called in a bomb threat that they would not have to take the test today, and they would have a few extra days to study. James took out his cell phone and called in the threat to the local police. As a result of the call, school was dismissed for the day and authorities came to the school for further investigation.

Another student, Elizabeth, who had seen James and his friends making the call about the threat decided to come to you as the Principal and tell you what she saw and heard. You were able to question James and his friends about the incident and they all admitted to what they did. For consistency purposes and per the handbook, you immediately suspended all of the students for 10 days pending and expulsion hearing as this was a very serious matter.

As the School Leader, you understand that your district has a zero tolerance policy for those involved in making a threat of this magnitude. Expulsion from school is required. While you were reading each student’s file, you notice that James has ADD and he is receiving services from your special education staff. No one else involved in the incident was identified as having any disabilities.

  1. How does the discovery of James disabilities impact the decision to suspend the students for 10 days, pending a school hearing?
  2. How does James being classified as a Special Education student change the discipline process for him compared to his friends?
  3. Should the Discipline for each student involved be different? If so, how?
  4. Can zero tolerance policies be applied to special education students? What case and law should you refer to when considering discipline for James?
  5. Is there grounds to refer all the students to the local prosecutor for criminal action?
  6. What problems do you see with the parents of the students?