A Manifestation Determination Review is a hearing held in a case where a school proposes to expel a disabled child who has broken the school’s code of conduct or has engaged in inappropriate behavior or proposes to suspend the child from schooling for a period exceeding ten days to determine whether inappropriate behavior was as a result of the child’s disability. The meeting is held within a fortnight of the misbehavior and is meant to ensure that no child is discriminated on the basis of their disability. It is the hearing that determines the nature, if any of the child’s punishment. If the hearing determines that the misconduct was caused by the disability, a behavioral interventional plan is formulated and effected to prevent such an occurrence in the future. However, if the seating comes to the conclusion that the misbehavior is not related to the disability, the child is punished as would a normal child.
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Since the conclusion arrived at in the MDR often has a serious bearing on the life of the student, all stakeholders are represented in the hearing with all the stakeholders being formally invited within a reasonable time to the day of hearing. Those present include the district representative, the child’s parent, and IEP Team members who are relevant to the hearing .The team is determined by the district representative and the parent and may include the student’s IEP teacher. The parent may also opt to have a legal representative for the child in the hiring.
The school counselor who is a trained psychologist is the person whose opinion is most vital in the MDR. It is he/ she who sheds light on whether the conduct in question was caused by or is directly related to the child’s disability. This is because they are responsible for conducting a behavioral assessment of the child and try to relate it to the disability. The hearing also substantially relies on the counselor’s opinion in determining whether the conduct was a direct result of a failure to implement the IEP on the school’s part and thus exonerate the student.
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