IDEA includes rules of procedure for resolving disputes between parents and schools. These rules include
process hearings, and appeals to state or federal court. (Wrightslaw:
Special Education Law, page 107-115)
Before you request a due process hearing, you should be familiar with the federal statute and regulations and your state special education statute and regulations. You should also read the Rules of Adverse Assumptions. (Chapter 21, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy)
can parents prevail?
Anatomy of a Special Education Case. What happens in a special education case? Read about the case of a young child with autism, from the original due process hearing through decisions from federal court and the U.S. Court of Appeals; this article includes links to pleadings and decisions.
Manual: Representing the Special Ed Child - For attorneys, advocates, and
parents who are preparing for a due process hearing.
The Stress of Due Process by Debbie Larson. Due process hearings are very time consuming and stressful. In this article you'll find some tips about what you can do to turn the situation around first and avoid due process.
First I Read the Facts, Then I Got MAD. Success Story: How we got an appropriate education and avoided due process.
If You Have a Dispute, Litigation is the Last Resort. Never tell a school, or anyone else, that you plan to sue them. There are other ways to resolve parent-school disputes. Depending on the issue, you may continue to negotiate, file a complaint with the state, or request mediation. Litigation is the last resort.
Reverse Due Process, When the School Sues the Parent. Reverse due process hearings are a defensive legal strategy used by school districts motivated by the school’s fear that the parents will prevail on a claim that the school’s IEP did not provide FAPE.
Answers to Questions about Special Education Litigation & Attorney's Fees by Pete Wright, Esq. Out of every ten parents who consult with me, only one needs an attorney. Parents have a disagreement or dispute with the school about their child’s special education program or placement. They don’t know what to do.
Due Process Hearing: From Child's Perspective. Read what it is like to go through a due process hearing - from the child's perspective.
Due Process Hearing: From Mom's Perspective. Florida Mom tells about lessons she learned at her hearing.
to Prepare for a Due Process Hearing. Vermont advocate Brice Palmer advises
how to prepare for a hearing or review, focuses on importance of planning and
organizing. "If you do not plan and organize the pursuit, you are likely
to wind up as road kill."
How to Put on a Special Education Case - Minnesota lawyer Sonja Kerr provides advice about tactics and strategy to the lawyer who is handling his or her first special education case.
Understanding Tests and Measurements - The child has received three years of special education for reading problems. Has the child made progress? Has the child fallen further behind? In special education cases, evidence includes standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, and age and grade equivalent scores.
To successfully negotiate or litigate for appropriate services that provide educational benefit, you need to know how to interpret test scores. To ensure that you have the graphics in this article, print the article from the screen (rather than download it).
Whitehead Case: The Inside Story - The famous $600,000 jury verdict against the Hillsborough Florida school district - what was this case really about? Laura Whiteside, attorney for Andrew Whitehead and his parents, tells the "inside story."
Whitehead Case: Jury Awards $600,000 Damages to Parents - In Whitehead v. Hillsborough, a Florida jury took less than 2 hours before deciding that the school system retaliated against the parents of a child with Downs Syndrome.
Should We Sue the School? I Don't Know What Else to Do by Susan Bruce. Never say anything in an IEP meeting that you are not prepared to do. You should never say anything that you cannot “back up” with data, statistics or documentation. Use this same principal for requests - never ask for things unless you have the data to show that the request is “appropriate.”