The law provides that an IEP team may place a student in an interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 school days, regardless of whether the student's behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the student's disability, under any of three "special circumstances."
These "special circumstances" include conduct involving drugs and weapons. Another of these "special circumstances" occurs when the student has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the supervision of the district. (20 U.S.C. § 1415(k)(1)(G); 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k)(2); 34 C.F.R. § 300.530 (g); 34 C.F.R.§ 300.531).
The term "serious bodily injury" for these purposes is the same as that found in title 18 United States Code section 1365(h)(3). (34 C.F.R. § 300.530(g)(3)(i)(3)). The term is defined as: bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death; extreme physical pain; protracted and obvious disfigurement; or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty. (18 U.S.C. § 1365(h)(3)).
"Serious bodily injury" is not simply a cut, abrasion, bruise, burn, or disfigurement; physical pain, illness, or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty. (18 U.S.C. § 1365 (h)(4)). Whether there has been a serious bodily injury is a question of fact that is determined based upon the totality of the circumstances of the injury. (See United States v. Johnson, 637 F.2d 1224, 1246 (9th Cir. 1980)).
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