Traditional public schools are government operated and funded institutions. Being that these schools receive federal funding, they are required to follow federal regulations and mandates. With regard to special education rights and protections, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA") is the primary federal law governing public schools. The IDEA requires that each child be provided with a Free and Appropriate Public Education ("FAPE"). The IDEA defines FAPE as follows: special education and related services that (a) have been provided at public expense; (b) meet the standards of the State educational agency; (c) include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education; and (d) are provided in conformity with the individualized education. 20 U.S.C. § 602(9).
In Rowley, the United States Supreme Court provided that "implicit in the congressional purpose of providing a 'free appropriate public education' is the requirement that the education provided be sufficient to confer some educational benefit upon the handicapped child". (Board of Ed. Of the Hendrick Hudson Sch. Dist. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 201-03 (1982); J.L. v. Mercer Island Sch. Dist., 592 F.3d 938 (2009)).
It can often be a confusing thing for both students and parents to understand; when is a student considered to be "at school" for disciplinary purposes? A quick exploration of the California Education Code can lend some assistance in answering this question.