In California and across the country, every child in the public school system is guaranteed an opportunity to access all available resources to help achieve their full academic potential. If a particular child has special needs, his or her parents may have already navigated the process to request an Individualized Education Program (IEP). If the parents now believe that school officials have violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), they can file a special education complaint.
There are several reasons for filing a special education complaint. Many parents take this step when they have requested an IEP, but their school district has not provided one. Others have filed complaints when their districts failed to provide the services listed in their children’s IEPs. Either way, it is helpful to know what to include in a complaint and what to expect from the system after filing one.
Here’s what the California Department of Education will want to know
When filing a special education complaint with the California Department of Education (CDE), the information shown in the following list should always be included:
- Student’s name and address
- Name of school
- What the violation was and how it affected the student
- Proposed solution to the problem
A parent or guardian may submit a complaint in letter form or print out a template that is accessible online. The CDE has 60 days after its Complaint Resolution Unit receives a formal complaint to issue a decision.
What happens during an investigation of a special education complaint?
The investigation team will review IEP meeting minutes, assessment documents and prior settlement agreements or written notices. The final ruling includes the CDE’s decision as to whether compliance or non-compliance occurred, as well as any corrective actions that must take place. A parent who disagrees with the decision may file a reconsideration requestwithin 30 days of receiving the final report.