Complaints, Mediation, and Due Process

Understanding Your Options for Settling Disputes

Who Is This For?
This section is for parents who either disagree with the school district's assessment or educational program
for their child or who believe that the school district has violated any of the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and/or Article 7.

Why Is This Important?
Ideally, parents and educators will be able to work as partners in all aspects of serving students with disabilities.
Good communication between parents and schools will minimize disputes and disagreements. However, when
disagreements arise, there are several avenues for handling such disputes. Parents should be familiar with
the options available for settling disputes and for reporting lack of compliance.

Words and Terms to Know
Mediation: A confidential, voluntary process that allows parties to resolve disputes. An
impartial mediator helps the parties to express their views and positions and to understand the
other's views and positions. The mediator's role is to facilitate discussion and help parties
reach an agreement – not to recommend solutions or take positions or sides. Mediation may
be used as an alternative to a Resolution session.

State Complaint: A written complaint can be filed by any organization or individual claiming
that a school district within the state has either violated a requirement of Part B of IDEA (the
part that contains all requirements regarding the delivery of special education services) or
Article 7, Indiana's special education law or regulations. State complaints must be filed and
received by the Center for Exceptional Learners ( CEL) within one (1) year of the date of the
alleged violation.

Due Process Hearing: A formal procedure before an impartial hearing officer who is not an
employee of the state education agency or school district. Both the parents and the school
district present arguments and evidence. A request for a due process hearing must be made
within two (2) years of the date the parent or public agency knew or should have known of
the alleged dispute unless the parents were prevented from requesting the hearing due to
specific misrepresentations or withholding of information by the school.

Resolution Session: A mandatory meeting that the school district must convene within 15 calendar days of
receiving the parents' due process hearing request. The resolution session includes parents, members of the
IEP team who have specific knowledge relevant to the issues and a representative of the school district who
has decision-making authority.

More information can be found at the following link: http://www.doe.in.gov/improvement/legal/special-education-due-process
If you are a parent who feels you need a child advocate to help you with understanding your child's rights, please see the following link:
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