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Accommodating the special needs of students with severe behavior disorders is a challenge, particularly when administering school discipline policies: How do educators maintain safe and orderly environments while also preserving the rights of all children to a free and appropriate education? Teachers certainly have the authority to discipline students with disabilities, but recent amendments to the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA 1997) require schools to be proactive in addressing behavior problems by developing well-designed positive interventions and conducting a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) when a student's behavior impedes his or her learning or the learning of others. Although IDEA 1997 first introduced the term functional behavioral assessment, its use throughout the statute is consistent with functional assessment practices that have dominated the field of applied ...

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