Manifestation Hearing

When a child with special needs behaves in a way that breaks a school rule or code of conduct and the school plans to suspend or expel the child, it is required to hold a hearing that explores whether the child’s behavior was caused by his or her disability. This hearing is called a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR). Its goal is, or at least should be to review all the information relevant to the child’s disability and determine whether there is a relationship between the child’s disability and the problematic behavior. Schools are not supposed to discriminate against a child by disciplining him or her for behavior caused by a disability, and the MDR is the parents’ chance to keep their child from such inappropriate discipline. A manifestation finding creates room for the school to step outside of the normal rules for how to discipline rule breaking behavior.