Thursday, August 4, 2016

Breaking: Feds Issue Guidance on Positive Behavior Supports for Students With Disabilities #Positive BehaviorSupports

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) today issued guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that emphasizes the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. It also clarifies that the repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports. When schools fail to consider and provide for needed behavioral supports through the Individualized Education Program (IEP), it is likely to result in children not receiving the free appropriate public education to which they are entitled under federal law.

Data indicates students with disabilities are disciplined at far higher rates than their non-disabled peers. The DCL includes two resource documents to assist teachers and school leaders. The Department is providing supports to assist teachers with classroom management strategies and assist schools in implementing school wide behavioral efforts to create safe and effective environments where all students are given an opportunity to positively engage in their education.

You can read the Dear Colleague Letter here. A Summary for stakeholders is available here. The press release is available here.


  1. I really like this idea. I think this idea is a time of the times and use educators need to adapt to the times. Positive supports are necessary with this generation.

  2. In my own experience, the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) has had a positive impact on students' behavior as well as school climate. Although some students require more intensive intervention plans than others, the focus on positive interventions rather than punishment also teaches students to consider the choices they make, as well as help them learn that teachers, specialists, staff and parents are working collaboratively to assist them (the students) in understanding, learning and practicing positive social skills. In addition, it increases the interactions between the student and teacher, allowing a more supportive, collaborative relationship to develop.
    The fact that the DCL is providing support to teachers and encouraging them to implement school wide PBIS programs is a much needed step in the right direction.

    1. It is necessary for students' with disabilities to receive appropriate behavioral support to ensure we are meeting our students' needs. Positive behavioral support implements positive outcomes.