A change of placement is considered to occur when the student is:
- suspended for more than 10 consecutive school days
- suspended for shorter removals that add up to more than 10 school days and turn into a pattern for responding to the behavior
- placed in an alternative educational setting (such as a separate class)
The school must conduct a review, called a manifestation determination to determine if the behavior is a result of the child's disability or the school's failure to implement the existing IEP or 504 Plan.
If the team finds that the behavior is significantly related to the disability, the team must either develop a behavior intervention plan if one does not exist, or review and make necessary changes to the existing plan. The student will then return to the classroom he was in before the suspension or expulsion.
If it is determined that the behavior is not a result of the child's disability, protections for students on an IEP differ significantly from those on a 504 Plan. If a student is on an IEP, educational services must be provided to enable to child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the IEP goals, even though they may be offered in another setting. A student on a 504 Plan can be suspended or expelled without any additional educational services.