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Understanding Manifestation Determination Hearings (MDR): A Guide for Parents

Navigating the complexities of the special education system can be challenging, especially when disciplinary actions come into play. One crucial process parents should be aware of is the Manifestation Determination Hearing (MDR). At The Hull Firm, we are dedicated to helping parents understand and effectively navigate MDRs to protect their child’s educational rights.

What is a Manifestation Determination Hearing (MDR)?

A Manifestation Determination Hearing (MDR) is a meeting held to determine if a student’s misbehavior is directly related to their disability. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), schools must conduct an MDR when a student with a disability faces disciplinary action that would result in a significant change in placement, such as suspension or expulsion for more than ten consecutive days.

The Importance of an MDR

An MDR is essential because it ensures that students with disabilities are not unfairly disciplined for behaviors that are a manifestation of their disability. The hearing evaluates whether:

  1. The conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the student’s disability.

  2. The conduct in question was the direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP.

If either condition is met, the school cannot proceed with the disciplinary action as planned, and must instead take steps to address the behavior through modifications to the student’s IEP or other supportive measures.

Steps in the MDR Process

  1. Notification: Parents must be notified of the disciplinary action and the decision to hold an MDR.

  2. Scheduling the MDR: The school must schedule the MDR within ten school days of the decision to change the student’s placement.

  3. Conducting the MDR: A team, including the parents, school personnel, and relevant professionals, reviews all relevant information to determine if the behavior was a manifestation of the student’s disability.

  4. Outcome and Next Steps: Based on the determination, the team will decide whether to proceed with disciplinary action or modify the student’s IEP to better address the behavior.

Why Legal Assistance is Important

Understanding and navigating MDRs can be overwhelming for parents. Having an experienced special education attorney by your side can make a significant difference. At The Hull Firm, our team of special education attorneys and advocates in Georgia is committed to ensuring that your child’s rights are protected throughout the MDR process.

If your child is facing disciplinary action and you need support with a Manifestation Determination Hearing, contact The Hull Firm today. Our experienced special education attorneys and advocates are here to provide expert guidance and representation, ensuring your child receives the fair treatment and educational support they deserve. Schedule a consultation with us now to safeguard your child’s educational future.



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