School Law Timelines
The following are timelines that you are likely to encounter as you navigate through the Illinois School Code, the Illinois School Student Records Act, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and their implementing regulations. These timelines are for your reference, but we recommend that you look at the entire section of the indicated statutory provisions or administrative regulation for more detailed information. Please note some timeframes are based strictly on Illinois law and are not applicable to other states. Items in ‘red’ are defined in the end notes.
The following are common cites to statues and regulations found this document:
- Illinois School Code – 105 ILCS 5/__
- Illinois School Student Records Act – 105 ILCS 10/___
- Illinois Administrative Code, Title 23 (Education), Part 226 (Special Education) – 23 IAC 226.___
- U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34 (Education), Part 300 (Education of Students with Disabilities) – 34 CFR § 300.___
- U.S. Code, Title 20 (Education), Chapter 13 (Education of Individuals with Disabilities) – 20 USC § 1400 et seq.
Regular Education Students
|Suspension: A non-disabled student may be suspended for a serious act of misconduct||
for 10 consecutive school days or less
|105 ILCS 5/10-22.6(b)||
The suspension may be longer if for gross disobedience or misconduct on a school bus for safety reasons.
There is no upward limit on the cumulative number of days a non-disabled student may be suspended during the school year.
|Notice of Suspension: A parent/guardian must receive a notice of the suspension which includes the reason for the suspension, the length of the suspension, and a notice of the parent/guardian’s right to review the school’s decision||
|105 ILCS 5/10-22.6(b)||This notice may be oral or written.|
|Review of Suspension Decision: A school board or its appointed hearing officer shall review the action of the superintendent, principal, assistant principal or dean of students to suspend, at a meeting where the parent/guardian may appear to discuss the suspension with the board or its hearing officer||
upon the request of the parent/guardian
|105 ILCS 5/10-22.6(b)||
If a hearing officer is appointed, he/she shall report to the school board a written summary of the evidence heard at the meeting.
Upon receiving the written report of the hearing officer or after conducting the meeting, the school board may take action as it finds appropriate.
|Expulsion: A non-disabled student may be removed from school for gross disobedience or misconduct for a period of time||
105 ILCS 5/10-22.6(a);
105 ILCS 5/10-22.6(d)
A student may be expelled only after the parent/guardian has been requested to appear at a meeting with the school board or hearing officer.
Notice of the hearing must be sent by registered or certified mail, and must state the time, place, and purposes of the hearing.
[i] Official Records Custodian – “(a) Each school shall designate an official records custodian who is responsible for the maintenance, care and security of all school student records, whether or not such records are in his personal custody or control. (b) The official records custodian shall take all reasonable measures to prevent unauthorized access to or dissemination of school student records.” 105 ILCS 10/4(a)-(b).
[ii] Pursuant to 23 IAC 226.110, if the school district determines not to conduct an evaluation it must provide written notice to the parents in accordance with 34 CFR § 300.503(b). Section 300.503(b) states as follows: “The noticed required . . . must include – (1) A description of the action proposed or refused by the agency; (2) An explanation of why the agency proposes or refuses to take the action; (3) A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action; (4) A statement that the parents of a child with a disability have protection under the procedural safeguards of this part and, if this notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, the means by which a copy of a description of the procedural safeguards can be obtained; (5) Sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of this part; (6) A description of other options that the IEP Team considered and the reasons why those options were rejected; and (7) A description of other factors that are relevant to the agency’s proposal or refusal. 34 CFR § 300.503(b).
[iii] The 60-school day time frame does not commence until the parents have signed the domain review form, providing consent to conduct the indicated assessments. 23 IAC 226.110(c)(3); 34 CFR § 300.305.
[iv] Pursuant to Section 300.306, “In interpreting evaluation data for the purpose of determining if a child is a child with a disability under [34 CFR §300.8], and the educational needs of the child, each public agency must – (i) Draw upon information from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, parent input, and teacher recommendations, as well as information about the child’s physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior; and (ii) Ensure that information obtained from all of these sources is documented and carefully considered.” 34 CFR § 300.306(c). Further “Upon completion of the administration of assessment and other evaluation measures – . . . [t]he public agency provides a copy of the evaluation report and the documentation of determination of eligibility at no cost to the parent.” 34 CFR § 300.306(a)(2). There is no longer a requirement that parents must request these materials.
Section 300.503 states as follows: “(a) Notice. Written notice that meets the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section must be given to the parents of a child with a disability a reasonable time before the public agency – (1) Proposes to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child or the provision of FAPE to the child; or (2) Refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or education placement of the child or the provision of FAPE to the child. (b) Content of notice. The notice required under paragraph (a) of this section must include – (1) A description of the action proposed or refused by the agency; (2) An explanation of why the agency proposes or refuses to take the action; (3) A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action; (4) A statement that the parents of a child with a disability have protection under the procedural safeguards of this part and, if this notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, the means by which a copy of a description of the procedural safeguards can be obtained; (5) Sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of this part; (6) A description of other options that the IEP Team considered and the reasons why those options were rejected; and (7) A description of other factors that are relevant to the agency’s proposal or refusal. (c) Notice in understandable language. (1) The notice required under paragraph (a) of this section must be – (i) Written in language understandable to the general public; and (ii) Provided in the native language of the parent or other mode of communication used by the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. (2) If the native language or other mode of communication of the parent is not a written language, the public agency must take steps to ensure – (i) That the notice is translated orally or by other means to the parent in his or her native language or other mode of communication; (ii) That the parent understands the content of the notice; and (iii) That there is written evidence that the requirements in paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section have been met.” 34 CFR § 300.503 (Emphasis added.)
[vi] Section 226.530 states as follows: “With respect to parents’ participation in meetings, school districts shall conform to the requirements of 34 CFR 300.322 and 300.501. For purposes of 34 CFR 300.322(a)(1), “notifying parents of the meeting early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to attend” means the district shall provide written notification no later than ten days prior to the proposed date of the meeting. In addition, the district shall take whatever action is necessary to facilitate the parent’s understanding of and participation in the proceedings at a meeting, including arranging for and covering the expense of an interpreter for parents whose native language is other than English or for an interpreter licensed pursuant to the Interpreter for the Deaf Licensure Act of 2007 [225 ILCS 443] for parents who are deaf.” 23 IAC 226.530 (Emphasis added.)
[vii] School Committee of Burlington v. Department of Education of Massachusetts, 471 U.S. 359 (1985).
[viii] Florence County School District Four v. Carter, 510 U.S. 7 (1993)
[ix] If a parent fails to respond or refuses to consent to the initial provision of special education services for his/her child (34 CFR § 300.300(b)(3)), or revokes consent to services at any time subsequent to the initial provision of special education and related services (34 CFR § 300.300(b)(4)), the district may not continue to provide such services to the child and will not be considered in violation of the requirement to make FAPE available to the child. 34 CFR § 300.300(b)(3)-(4).
[x] A student may file and respond to a due process hearing request if at least 18 years of age or emancipated. See 105 ILCS 14-8.02a et seq.
[xi] The 45-day timeline for the due process hearing may start after one of the following events: (1) both parties agree in writing to waive the resolution session; (2) after either the mediation or resolution meeting starts but before the end of the 30-day period, parties agree in writing that no agreement is possible; or (3) both parties agree in writing to continue the medication at the end of the 30-day resolution period, but later, a party withdraws from the mediation process. 34 CFR § 300.510(c).
[xii] Pursuant to the Illinois School Code, “[t]he decision shall specify the educational and related services that shall be provided to the student in accordance with the student’s needs and the timeline for which the school district shall submit evidence to the State Board of Education to demonstrate compliance with the hearing officer’s decision in the event that the decision orders the school district to undertake corrective action.” 105 ILCS 5/14-8.02a(h). In other words, the IHO must order a specific placement.
[xiii] “The bases and timelines for decisions of hearing officers shall conform to the requirements of 34 CFR 300.513 and Section 14-8.02a(h) of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/14-8.02a(h)]. In addition, the hearing officer’s decision shall be sent by certified mail to the parties enumerated in Section 14-8.02a(h) of the School Code. The [hearing] decision shall be translated into the native language of the parents if their primary language is other than English.” 23 IAC 226.670 (Emphasis added.)
[xiv] “A student who is determined to have brought one of the following objects to school, any school-sponsored activity or event, or any activity or event that bears a reasonable relationship to school shall be expelled for a period of not less than one year: (1) A firearm. For the purposes of this Section, ‘firearm’ means any gun, rifle, shotgun, or weapon as defined by Section 921 of Title 18 of the United States Code, firearm as defined in Section 1.1 of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act (430 ILCS 65/1.1), or firearm as defined by Section 24-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961. The expulsion period under this subdivision (1) may be modified by the superintendent, and the superintendent’s determination may be modified by the board on a case-by-case basis. (2) A knife, brass knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, a billy club, or any other object if used or attempted to be used to cause bodily harm, including “look alikes” of any firearm as defined in subdivision (1) of this subsection (d). The expulsion requirement under this subdivision (2) may be modified by the superintendent, and the superintendent’s determination may be modified by the board on a case-by-case basis.” 105 ILCS 5/10-22.6(d)(1)-(2).
[xv] Pursuant to Section 300.530(i)(4), “weapon” for the purposes of the IDEA has the meaning given to the term “dangerous weapon” under paragraph (2) of the first subsection (g) of Section 930 of title 18, United States Code. 34 CFR § 300.530(i)(4). Pursuant to that section, “[t]he term ‘dangerous weapon’ means a weapon, device, instrument material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade less than 2½ inches in length.” 18 U.S.C. § 930(g)(2).
[xvi] Pursuant to Section 300.530(i)(1), “controlled substance” means “a drug or other substance identified under schedules I, II, III, IV, or V in section 202(c) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812(c)).” 34 CFR § 300.530(i)(1). Further, this same section defines “illegal drug” as “a controlled substance; but does not include a controlled substance that is legally possessed or used under the supervision of a licensed health-care professional or that is legally possessed or used under any other authority under that Act or under any other provision of Federal law.” 34 CFR § 300.530(i)(2). Please note, that the above definition does not include alcohol.
[xvii] Section 300.530(i)(4) refers to the definition of “serious bodily injury” under 18 U.S.C. § 1365. That statute states, “the term “serious bodily injury’ means bodily injury which involves – (A) a substantial risk of death; (B) extreme physical pain; (C) protracted and obvious disfigurement; or (D) protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member organ, or mental facility.” 18 U.S.C. § 1365(h)(3).