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How parents can resolve special education disputes

| May 25, 2021 | Education Law

Your child has the right to a free education that accommodates his or her specific learning needs.

As a parent of a special education student in Virginia, if you and the school disagree over an aspect of your child’s instruction, you have multiple options to resolve the dispute.

File a complaint

You can submit a written complaint with the Virginia Department of Education. The VDOE will review the matter and determine if corrective action is necessary. Either you or the school may appeal the decision.

Participate in mediation

With mediation, an impartial negotiator assists you and the school in coming to a mutually favorable agreement that best serves the child. Mediation is completely voluntary, and you can choose to move past this step to a due process hearing.

Initiate a due process hearing

If you are unable to reach a satisfying conclusion through either the complaint or mediation process, you can request a due process hearing where an independent hearing officer will evaluate the facts of the case and make a decision based on educational law.

As a parent, you have certain rights during the due process hearing, including:

         To present evidence

         To receive a written record of the hearing and the decision

         To open the hearing to the public

         To have your child present

An attorney or person with specialized knowledge about children with disabilities may accompany you to the hearing. Such a person can help you reach the outcome that works best for you and your child.

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