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Dear Colleague Letter on Supporting Behavior of Students with Disabilities, U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

This Dear Colleague letter from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provides guidance regarding the importance of providing for effective behavioral supports throughout the IEP process, noting that failure to do so will likely result in a child not receiving meaningful education. The letter also highlights the need to make behavioral supports available throughout the continuum of educational placements. Behavioral supports implemented through the IEP process are most likely to be successful if they are incorporated into predictable and relevant classroom routines and expectations, with an emphasis on consistency for the student. The letter stresses the importance of providing behavioral supports for students with disabilities that make sense for their educational placement; examples of supports that may be particularly relevant to a detention setting include regular reinforcement of expectations, violence prevention programs, anger management, mental health counseling, life skills training, and social skills instruction. Furthermore, the letter emphasizes the importance of creating a school environment that is safe, supportive, and conducive to both teaching and learning.