The federal regulations for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes many provisions to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability while also giving families and school systems means by which to resolve disputes. These rights are known as procedural safeguards. Parents have specific rights under this law to due process hearing requests under 34 CFR &300.507.
You or your school district may not have a due process hearing until you or the school district files a hearing request relating to a proposal or a refusal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, eligibility determination or educational placement of your child or the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to your child. All information must be contained in this request which includes student’s name, student’s address, school student attends, a description of the nature of the problem and a proposed resolution to the problem.
In order for a due process hearing request to go forward, it must be considered sufficient. The due process hearing request will be considered sufficient that is, to have met the content requirements listed above unless the party receiving the due process hearing request (you, the parent or the school district) notifies the hearing officer and the other party in writing, within fifteen calendar days of receiving the request. The other party must believe that the due process hearing request does not meet the requirements listed above.
Within five calendar days of receiving the notification that the receiving party (you or the school district) considers a due process hearing request insufficient, the hearing officer must decide if the due process hearing request meets the stated requirements and must notify the parent and the school district in writing immediately.
It is permissible to amend a due process hearing request but only under certain circumstances. The changes may be made only if:
1. The other party approves of the changes in writing and is given the chance to resolve the due process hearing through a resolution meeting or
2. By no later than five days before the due process hearing begins, the hearing officer grants permission for the changes.
If the complaining party (you or the school district) makes changes to the due process hearing request, the timelines for the resolution meeting (within fifteen calendar days of receiving the due process hearing request) and the time period for resolution (within thirty calendar days of receiving the due process hearing request) starts again. The timeline begins again on the date the amended due process hearing request is filed.
Any request for a due process hearing request from a parent to a local educational agency (LEA) or a school district requires the school district to provide you with prior written notice, regarding the subject matter of your request for a hearing. The school district must also within ten calendar days of receiving the due process hearing request, send to you a response that includes the following information:
1. An explanation of why the school district proposed or refused to take the action raised in the due process hearing request;
2. A description of other options that our student’s IEP team considered and the reasons why those options were rejected;
3. A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the school district used as the basis for the proposed or refused action; and
4. A description of the other factors that are relevant to the school district’s proposed or refused action.
Providing this information does not prevent the school district from asserting that your due process hearing request was insufficient.
More information on due process hearing requests will be contained in the next few articles.