(a) Limitations on suspension. (1) A program must prohibit or severely limit the use of suspension due to a child’s behavior. Such suspensions may only be temporary in nature.
(2) A temporary suspension must be used only as a last resort in extraordinary circumstances where there is a serious safety threat that cannot be reduced or eliminated by the provision of reasonable modifications.
(3) Before a program determines whether a temporary suspension is necessary, a program must engage with a mental health consultant, collaborate with the parents, and utilize appropriate community resources – such as behavior coaches, psychologists, other appropriate specialists, or other resources – as needed, to determine no other reasonable option is appropriate.
(4) If a temporary suspension is deemed necessary, a program must help the child return to full participation in all program activities as quickly as possible while ensuring child safety by:
(i) Continuing to engage with the parents and a mental health consultant, and continuing to utilize appropriate community resources;
(ii) Developing a written plan to document the action and supports needed;
(iii) Providing services that include home visits; and,
(iv) Determining whether a referral to a local agency responsible for implementing IDEA is appropriate.
(b) Prohibition on expulsion. (1) A program cannot expel or unenroll a child from Head Start because of a child’s behavior.
(2) When a child exhibits persistent and serious challenging behaviors, a program must explore all possible steps and document all steps taken to address such problems, and facilitate the child’s safe participation in the program. Such steps must include, at a minimum, engaging a mental health consultant, considering the appropriateness of providing appropriate services and supports under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to ensure that the child who satisfies the definition of disability in 29 U.S.C. §705(9)(b) of the Rehabilitation Act is not excluded from the program on the basis of disability, and consulting with the parents and the child’s teacher, and:
(i) If the child has an individualized family service plan (IFSP) or individualized education program (IEP), the program must consult with the agency responsible for the IFSP or IEP to ensure the child receives the needed support services; or,
(ii) If the child does not have an IFSP or IEP, the program must collaborate, with parental consent, with the local agency responsible for implementing IDEA to determine the child’s eligibility for services.
(3) If, after a program has explored all possible steps and documented all steps taken as described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, a program, in consultation with the parents, the child’s teacher, the agency responsible for implementing IDEA (if applicable), and the mental health consultant, determines that the child’s continued enrollment presents a continued serious safety threat to the child or other enrolled children and determines the program is not the most appropriate placement for the child, the program must work with such entities to directly facilitate the transition of the child to a more appropriate placement.