Effective Strategies
Should We Sue the School?

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In This Issue ...

Circulation: 91,630
ISSN: 1538-320
May 7, 2013

a worried motherDue process hearings are very time consuming and stressful.

Parents who are successful in resolving school problems do not threaten to sue. They try other strategies to resolve their dispute with the school.

Depending on the issue, you may continue to negotiate, file a complaint with the state, or request mediation. Litigation is the last resort.

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, you will find some tips about what you can do to turn the situation around first and avoid due process.

Please don't hesitate to forward this series to other friends, families, or colleagues.

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students in class with teacher

Should We Threaten Litigation?

Never tell a school, or anyone else, that you plan to sue them. Play your cards close to your chest.  Don't initiate a due process hearing until you have exhausted other ways to resolve a problem.

Pete Wright explains why, in most cases, threatening to sue the school makes things worse.


parents at school meeting

Should We Sue the School?

NO threats. You should never say anything that you cannot “back up” with data, statistics, or documentation.

"I never say anything in an IEP meeting that I am not prepared to do", says Advocate Susan Bruce. Here is an option for resolving the dispute.



woman writing report

File a State Complaint Under IDEA

State Complaints can address both individual and systemic issues and be used to resolve any matter related to violations of:

  • FAPE
  • child find
  • related services
  • ESY (regression and recoupment)
  • Identification
  • Lack of progress
  • Evaluation
  • Educational placement....

Attorney Jim Comstock-Galagan explains effective strategies when filing a state complaint.


Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy 2nd Edition

Read the Rules of Adverse Assumptions

IDEA includes rules of procedure for resolving disputes between parents and schools. Before you request a due process hearing, you need to read the Rules of Adverse Assumptions.

Find the Rules in Chapter 21, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy. Get your copy today!

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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

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