Special Education Complaints
What is a special education complaint?
A complaint is generally an expression of some disagreement with a procedure or a process regarding special education programs, procedures or services. A formal complaint is considered a request that this division investigate an alleged violation of a right of a parent and/or child with disabilities who is eligible, or believed to be eligible, for certain services based on federal and state laws and regulations governing special education.
What the complaint system is not able to do
The state's complaint system for special education does not handle violations of Civil Rights related to disability. These matters are addressed directly with the Office of Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education. In addition, the complaint system cannot address personnel issues or general education matters. These matters are under the control of the school division.
Any matter which is under the exclusive control of the local school division will not be addressed in the special education complaint system. Local school divisions are responsible for the general day-to-day operation of schools, including supervision of personnel and the administration of programs
What is the difference between a special education complaint and a due process hearing?
A complaint can be filed by anyone. The complaint process usually involves a review of the alleged procedural violations. An example would be a situation where services are not being provided to a child with a disability in accordance with the student's Individualized Education program (IEP). A complaint can also focus on any particular process or procedure that is a violation of special education law or regulation. In addition, a complaint may raise an issue of appropriateness. In such cases, this office is required to determine whether the school division complied with the regulatory mandates under IDEA 2004, considered the required matters and made proposals that are reasonably supported by the student specific data, thus meeting the definition of a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
A due process hearing is a process wherein a party alleges an issue relating to the identification, evaluation, or education of a child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for the child. Due process hearings are likely to involve disputes between the parent and the local school division over the appropriateness or nature of the student's program or services.
- State Special Education Complaint Form (PDF) | (Word)
- Private School Complaints – Involving the consultation process for parentally placed private school children with disabilities
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For information about complaints related to Private Residential Facilities and Private Special Education Day Schools, see Private Day & Residential Schools