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The Stress of Due Process

by Debbie Larson

Even with great preparation and the advice of an attorney, due process hearings are very time consuming and stressful.  This is especially true for parents.

Before proceeding to due process, try to turn the situation around first.

Here are some tips about what you can do.

  • Do your homework.
  • Read all the articles suggested on Wrightslaw.
  • Keep your emotions in check.
  • Get independent evaluations. Learn how to understand what they mean.
  • Document conversations and meetings. Tape record meetings if you can.
  • Ask clarifying questions and document the answers.
  • Be sure you can clearly define the school’s position and reasoning.
  • Be sure you can clearly articulate both your concerns and your child’s needs.
  • Learn some of the terms the school staff is accustomed to using.
  • Develop an ally from within the school members of the team if possible. This will help you  state your position and look to another person at the table for confirmation.

Read the success stories about what others have done. Win-win is possible.

Sometimes You Have No Option

Sometimes there is no option but to go to a due process hearing.  Sad, but true. It should always be a last resort.  The law contains this procedural safeguard for a reason. It gives parents an option.

The important point is to methodically work your way through the process before you go to hearing.  It takes time, patience, self-control and work to do this.  Most of the time you will be successful at some point before hearing.  If not, you know you have done all the right things to get to a collaborative point with the district.

You will never regret taking the high road in working with the school.  Allow the district to save face, never rubbing it in if they capitulate.  This is part of the collaborative process.  Always be gracious in victory.

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15 Comments on "The Stress of Due Process"


I have a strange case-
District never considered qualification under option C for SLD. They say the student did not have a processing deficit But examination of the processing assessments conducted show that these tests were only partially done and modified. AFter being denied services student was simply put back in Gen ed for 1st and 2nd grade, not even a 504. Not surprisingly student is reading at a K level as he prepares to enter 3rd grade. School has never been willing to listen to parent concerns about faulty initial assessment to reconsider qualification. Basically, student is tests out of superior intelligence but can’t read. School is willing to fund a neuropsych due to family pressure but what about the 2 years they just let him fail? Failure to qualify him initially caused harm, any compensation due this kid?

Sharon L.

Stress of Due Process Hearing Lori Yes the school attorney can do this however the school attorney cannot be the “hearing officer” that makes the final decision. The parent should also have an attorney present as well.


Question. The school filed for Due Process, an IEP meeting was scheduled, the school district attorney whom is handling the due process was in charge at the IEP meeting, he asked all the questions etc. etc. Can he both attend and or “run” the IEP meeting and at the same time be the attorney for the due process hearings? Appreciate any guidance on this subject.

Sharon L.

SMM – Yes I agree. The school looks out for their best interests and try to spend as little money as possible. Sad.


Beth-Have you been documenting the bullying IN WRITING to the school? If not, it is like it never happened. Have you requested, in wiritng, the policy for bullying for your district? We have a bullying law in our state. Research to see if your state has one. MEMORIZE it and then hold them to it! Bullying of a child with a disability, can result in the denial of FAPE, this being true, might make it an concern to bring up with the IEP team. The building administrator has a responsibility to ensure the safety of all kids, including yours, ESPECIALLY after he has been put on notice that it is going on, IN WRITING.