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10 Tips for Preparing a State or Due Process Complaint

employment-application-question-mark-keyboardThe Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides options for resolving disputes between schools and parents. Two of these options are state complaints and due process complaints. Either of these options could be used to address matters involving a school district’s delay or denial to evaluate a student.

Here is a list of some information you may want to include in a state complaint or due process complaint.

  1. The Prior Written Notice from your school district.

  2. Information about how your child is struggling in school. Give specifics and examples.

  3. Your child’s grades in the subject(s) he or she is struggling in.

  4. Results of any standardized tests on which he or she performed poorly (below grade level). If your child passed a state standardized test or has average grades, include information on what you needed to do at home to make that happen, such as private tutoring, or getting lots of help from a parent. Be specific as to how often your child got help and anything your child had to give up (such as after school activities and play time) in order to get the help.

  5. Any diagnosis of a disability from a medical doctor or private psychologist.

  6. Any medication for a disability your child may be taking.

  7. Whether your child has behavior or attention problems in the classroom.

  8. How long it has been since you first asked for an evaluation.

  9. Whether the child has a 504 plan.

  10. Whether the teacher has told you that your child should be evaluated.

Excerpted from Parent Rights in the Era of RTI



Candace Cortiella is Director of The Advocacy Institute, a nonprofit focused on improving the lives of people with disabilities through public policy and other initiatives. The mother of a young adult with learning disabilities, she lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

Allison Hertog, Esq., MA, is Founder/Director of Making School Work which helps South Florida families understand their children’s legal rights in public school. She is a former special education teacher and an attorney with a Master’s Degree in Special Education.

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