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 regarding hearing decisioons under 34 CFR &300.513.
The decision of the impartial hearing officer or ALJ is based on the evidence regarding whether or not your child received a free, appropriate public education under IDEA. This decision is based on substantive grounds. This means that the decision is based on having firm evidence in reality and therefore it must be important, meaningful, or considerable.
In matters alleging a procedural violation, a hearing officer may find that your child did not receive a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) only if the procedural inadequacies:
1. Interfered with your child’s right to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE);
2. Significantly interfered with your opportunity to participate in the decision-making process regarding the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to your child; OR
3. Caused a deprivation of an educational benefit.
An impartial hearing officer may order a school district to comply with the requirements in the procedural safeguards section of the federal regulations under Part B of the IDEA (34 CFR §§300.500 through 300.536) if they believe that the district has not followed the law.
An additional separate request for a due process hearing may be followed as nothing in the procedural safeguards section of the federal regulations under Part B of the IDEA (34 CFR §§300.500 through 300.536) can be interpreted to prevent you from filing a separate due process hearing request on an issue separate and different from a due process hearing request already filed.
The state department of education or the school district (whichever was responsible for the hearing) after deleting any personally identifiable information must provide the findings and decisions in the due process hearing or appeal to the state special education advisory panel as well as make those findings and decisions available to the public.
In upcoming articles, more information about the appeals process as well as attorney fees will be discussed.