States and school districts are taking steps to ensure that “informal removals,” in which school days are shortened to address behavior issues for students with disabilities, do not violate civil and educational rights. In 2022, the U.S. Education Department (USDE) released guidance regarding “shortened days” that avers they are subject to IDEA’s requirements to the same extent as disciplinary removals. That guidance raised the concern that frequent short-term removals of students with disabilities by administrators and staff could indicate a school is not following procedures under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Subsequently, although informal removals are not defined under IDEA or in its regulations, disability rights advocates have raised alarms about the practice being overused as a way to sidestep IDEA discipline due process for students with disabilities. This has led to the creation of new state and local resources, including from Oregon, Illinois and Chicago Public Schools.

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To view the USDE guidance document, click here.