It is important for every parent to make sure their child with a disability is receiving the education they need. If you disagree about the programming that is needed for their child, it is important to be aware that you are not required to accept this offer as final. Instead, you are able to file for a due process hearing to argue on your child’s behalf so they receive the education they are entitled to. During this time, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Pennsylvania special education law attorney. Continue reading below to learn more.
What is a Due Process Hearing?
A due process hearing is a formal way for parents and school districts to resolve disputes regarding a child’s education. Throughout the hearing, both sides can present their arguments on the situation in a legal setting. There are a variety of things that can be used to prove a case, such as witnesses, testimony, documents, and legal arguments. Once each side is done, the hearing officer can consider both arguments before coming to a decision. It is important to know that parents can only file a due process complaint for special education disputes. Some of the matters that can be resolved at a hearing can include:
- The child’s eligibility for an outside educational evaluation paid for by the school district
- The child’s eligibility for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 Plan
- Accommodations or specially designed instruction that a plan should have
- The services the child is owed if the district was not previously providing special education programming
- The child’s need to be educated in a private school focusing on special education needs
What is the Process of Filing a Dispute?
In order to have a due process hearing, you are required to file a written request with the Office for Dispute Resolution. This must include information about the child, school, the description of the problem, and a proposal for how it can be solved. After this, the process consists of the following:
- The parent should hear back within five days of the Office receiving the complaint. A hearing officer will be assigned and a date is given.
- The school district must meet with the parents for a “resolution session.” This must take place within 15 days of receiving the Notice. However, it does not have to take place if both parties agree to mediation or waive the meeting.
- If the dispute is not resolved, a hearing will occur. Documents used within the hearing must be exchanged at least five days before the hearing.
- The hearing officer will make a written decision within 45 days after the receipt of the request for the hearing was received.
Contact our Firm
Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.