We encourage parents and school districts to work together to resolve disagreements about a student’s special education program. However, we understand there are times when additional support is needed to resolve a disagreement.
There are three dispute resolution options available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. These three options can address concerns about the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of Free Appropriate Public Education to a student (age 3–21).
Facilitation is a voluntary process for parents and districts to meet to discuss their concerns with the help of a trained, neutral facilitator. There is no cost for the facilitation services.
Mediation is a voluntary process for parents and districts to meet to discuss their concerns with the help of a trained, neutral mediator. There is no cost to the parties.
Any citizen can file a complaint alleging that a federal or state special education rule or law has been violated. OSPI can investigate allegations that occurred within the past year.
In a hearing, parents and districts appear before an independent administrative law judge. The parties present information and documents about the issues so the judge can reach a decision.