News & Announcements
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and direct exposure risks in the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) building, VDOE employees have been ordered to refrain from working onsite and have extremely limited access to the building. To the extent possible, VDOE employees are working remotely and will make reasonable efforts to check U.S. mail, deliveries, and fax correspondence when access is permitted. However, there is likely to be an unavoidable delay in the receipt and processing of U.S. mail, deliveries, and fax correspondence sent to VDOE. Please be reminded that you may seek technical assistance regarding special education as well as file State Complaints, Due Process Complaints, and Mediation via email to ODRAS@doe.virginia.gov. Please visit our COVID-19 and Virginia Public Schools page for additional resources and guidance regarding the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency on Special Education in Virginia.
Special education disputes are better resolved at the local level, if possible. Parents and school administrators are encouraged to work together to come to an understanding of mutual concerns and come to an agreement in the best interest of children with disabilities. VDOE offers several resolution options to disputes.
Options for addressing issues & concerns
Ombudsman for Special Education is an informal source of information and referral, aids in answering individuals' questions and assists in the resolution of concerns and issues. The ombudsman serves as a resource to parents in non-legal special education matters.
Special Education Mediation can assist parents and school staff when they are in negotiations. A mediator can convene and conduct a meeting to clarify issues, focus on the needs of a child, and explore and evaluate possible solutions in a confidential setting.
Facilitated IEPs use a facilitator to assist with communication in developing an IEP.
Complaints are generally expressions of some disagreement with a procedure or a process regarding special education programs, procedures or services.
Due Process uses an informal administrative hearing process before a hearing officer to resolve disagreements over such issues as related to a child's eligibility for special education and related services, evaluation of a child with a disability, appropriateness of a child's services and/or placement, or any other matter under free, appropriate public education, including disciplinary matters.
- Parents’ Guide to Special Education Dispute Resolution (PDF)
- Troubleshooting Parents' Special Education Concerns Within A Local School Division – (This document is under revision)
- Legal Advocacy Groups and Resources for Special Education (PDF)
- Local Special Education Annual Plan Requirements & Resources
- Dispute Resolution App