Disputes and Due Process
Each child has the right to a free and appropriate public school education in the United States. Certain rights are federally mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), amended in 2004, which includes specific rights for parents or legal guardians of children with disabilities.
- If parents disagree with any changes in the IEP, parents can discuss concerns with members of the IEP team. A child will continue to receive the services listed in the previous IEP until parents and school staff can reach agreement.
- If parents continue to disagree with the IEP, there are several options, including asking for additional testing or an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).
- If parents feel that evaluation procedures were not followed or that a child’s needs are not being met, they have the right to lodge a complaint.
- A school has 30 days to resolve the complaint to the parents' satisfaction.
- One way of resolving a dispute is mediation with an impartial third person.
- If a dispute is not resolved, parents have the right to due process, where they can retain an attorney and hold hearings with witnesses and evidence.
- An impartial due process hearing involves an impartial hearing officer listening to all parties and deciding what is to be done, according to the law.
Private School and Tuition
- Parents may remove their child from public school and enroll the student in a private school at their own expense.
- If parents believe that proper process was not followed, or that a student with a disability is not receiving a beneficial education, they can seek tuition reimbursement but must be prepared to provide factual evidence and provide prompt notification to the IEP team.