MDR or Manifestation Determination Review

MDR or Manifestation Determination Review

The MDR or Manifestation Determination Review is a meeting which must take place within ten days of a behavior infraction that would cause a student to be removed from their current placement in a public school for more than 10 days. This is a cumulative number: in other words, during a single school year when a child is suspended or removed from school, before an eleventh (11th) day, the school district is required to notify the parents. That includes a suspension of more than 10 days.

After a student with disabilities approaches 7 or 8 days of suspension, it is common for schools to attempt to aggressively address the problem to avoid the Manifestation Determination. If a parent disagrees with the result of that meeting, they are well within their rights to take the school district to due process. If the hearing officer agrees with the parents, the district may be required to provide compensatory education.

What Will Happen After an MDR Takes Place?

An MDR is held to determine if the behavior is a manifestation of the student's disability. If it is determined that it is, in fact, part of his/her disability, then the IEP team must determine if appropriate interventions have been in place. That should include having an FBA (Functional Behavioral Analysis) and a BIP (Behavior Intervention or Improvement Plan) are in place and followed as written. If the behavior relating to the student's disability has been addressed appropriately with an FBA and BIP, and the program has been followed with fidelity, the student's placement may be changed (with the approval of parents.)

Students diagnosed with autism, emotional disturbances, or oppositional defiant disorder may exhibit behaviors that are related to their diagnosis. The school would need to provide evidence that the school has addressed his/her aggressive, inappropriate or offensive behavior, that from a general education student would earn a suspension or even expulsion. Once again, if there is strong evidence that the behavior has been addressed, then a change of placement to a more restrictive placement might be appropriate.

Students with other disabilities may also exhibit aggression, offensive or inappropriate behavior. If the behavior is related to their disability (perhaps a cognitive inability to understand their behavior) they may also qualify for an FBA and BIP. If it is unrelated to their diagnosis, the district (also known as the Local Education Authority or LEA can exercise the regular disciplinary procedure. Then other legal contingencies apply, such as whether there is a progressive discipline policy in place, whether the school has followed the policy and whether the discipline is reasonably appropriate for the infraction.

Also Known As

Manifestation Determination Meeting


When Jonathon was suspended for stabbing another student with scissors, an MDR or Manifestation Determination Review was scheduled within the ten days to determine whether Jonathon should stay a Pine Middle School or placed in the districts special school for behavior.