Understanding Due Process
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If the parents and school district do not agree on special education services,
parents have three options:
- Requesting mediation
- Filing a complaint
- Requesting a due process hearing
At Hollingsworth & Zivitz, we work hard to provide you with the legal
representation you need and deserve. We advocate on your behalf and guide
you through the various options available to you, helping you understand
the legalities of each one. When it comes to compassionate and high-quality
legal counsel, we are the right choice.
This is a confidential, voluntary form of settlement conference. A neutral
third party meets with the parents and school district in an effort to
negotiate an out-of-court settlement. The mediator cannot require the
parties to settle a case; both sides need to agree in order for the settlement
to be legally binding.
Filing a complaint
A complaint is a formal charge that the school has violated state or federal
law, usually by failing to implement something required by the child’s
IEP. It may also claim that the school is doing something which is prohibited by law.
There are specific rules which govern the filing of a complaint, including
the form and content, and filing the complaint within the legal time limit.
Once the complaint is filed, the State Department of Education will assign
an investigator. There are legal safeguards and rules which govern the
procedure in the event you or the school disagrees with the investigator’s
report. You should consult a lawyer who can assist you in drafting and
filing a complaint so that it complies with the law.
Due Process Hearing
Parents with a grievance may request a due process hearing before an independent
hearing officer (IHO). Typically, the IHO is a neutral third party but
does not have to be an attorney. The hearing officer sets up a pre-hearing
conference with you and the school’s representative.
The actual hearing is less formal than a trial. Both the parents and the
school are permitted to present witnesses and evidence in support of their
respective positions and give a short closing argument. Shortly after
the hearing, the IHO will mail his or her ruling to both sides. If either
side disagrees with the IHO’s decision following a due process hearing,
either side can request an appeal.
Educational due process hearings can be a lengthy and confusing process.
You should consult our Carmel education law attorneys to advise you and
protect your child’s rights.
When you need our help, we’re here for you. Schedule your
initial case review today.
Call Hollingsworth & Zivitz at (888) 211-3888 to begin building your case.