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 file a due process hearing request on any matter 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.
In addition, in accordance with Section 1008.212, F.S., in the event that your school district superintendent requests that an extraordinary exemption from participation in a state assessment be granted to your child and the State Superintendent denies this request, you have the right to an expedited due process hearing. The request for an expedited due process hearing is made directly to the State Department of Education. Upon your request, you will be advised of any free or low-cost legal services and other relevant services available. The hearing must begin within twenty school days following receipt of your request. The administrative law judge or hearing officer must make a determination on the case within ten school days after the expedited hearing is completed.
The due process hearing request must allege a violation that happened not more than two years before you or the school district knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the due process complaint.
This timeline does not apply if you could not file a due process hearing request within the timeline because:
1. The school district specifically misrepresented that it had resolved the issues identified in the complaint; or
2. The school district withheld information from you that it was required to provide you under Part B of the IDEA.
In order to request a hearing, you or the school district (or your attorney or the school district’s attorney) must submit a due process hearing request to the other party. The due process hearing request must contain all the content listed below and must be kept confidential. You or the school district, whichever party filed the due process hearing request, must also provide the Department of Education with a copy of the due process hearing request.
The content of the due process hearing request must include the following information:
1. The name of the student;
2. The address of the student’s residence;
3. The name of the student’s school;
4. If the student is a holes child or youth, the student’s contact information and the name of the student’s school;
5. A description of the nature of the problem of the student relating to the proposed or refused action, including facts relating to the problem; and
6. A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to you or the school district at the time.
More information will be provided regarding due process hearings in the next few articles.