Due Process Complaint

A Due Process Complaint is a complaint filed by a parent or school district when there is conflict related to the proposal or refusal to initiate or change a child’s identification, evaluation, the provision of a free and appropriate public education, or a child’s educational placement.  Prior to the filing of any complaint, it is best practice to try to work the dispute out at the local level.  Work with your child’s teacher and educational team to try to resolve any disagreements you may have with their identification, evaluation, provision of a free and appropriate public education or placement.  This can be accomplished through the IEP meetings or through less formal team meetings.  Document your concerns in writing to your child’s team and try to work with them to come to an agreeable resolution.  Once you have tried these activities, to no avail, you may consider filing a Due Process Complaint.

FAQs

 

Click on any question below to view answers to questions that parents most frequently ask us.

How do I file a Due Process Complaint?

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Compliance Department has forms available for download to assist you in filing a Due Process Complaint. The Due Process complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than 2 years from the date the parent or the public agency knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the complaint. The written complaint is sent to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). A copy of the written complaint must also be sent to the responsible public agency.

The 2 year timeline does not apply if the public agency specifically misrepresented that it had resolved the issues brought up in the complaint; or the public agency withheld information that it was required to provide.

What information must be included in a complaint?

The complaint must include the following information:

  • Name of the child
  • Address of the child’s residence
  • Name of school the child is attending
  • A description of the nature of the problem of the child relating to the proposed or refused action; including facts relating to the problem
  • A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available at the time

The 2 year timeline does not apply if the public agency specifically misrepresented that it had resolved the issues brought up in the complaint; or the public agency withheld information that it was required to provide.

Who determines if the complaint contains the required information?

In order for a Due Process Complaint to move forward it must be considered Sufficient (it must have met content requirements).  The Complaint will be considered Sufficient unless the public agency (or the parent if the district filed the complaint) notifies the Administrative Hearing Commission and the other party, in writing, within 15 Calendar Days of receiving the complaint, that they feel the complaint does not meet content requirements.

Within 5 Calendar Days of receiving a notification of insufficiency, the Administrative Hearing Commission must decide if the complaint meets the requirements and notify the parent and the public agency, in writing, of their decision.

The 2 year timeline does not apply if the public agency specifically misrepresented that it had resolved the issues brought up in the complaint; or the public agency withheld information that it was required to provide.

Can a Due Process Complaint be amended?

Yes, either party may make changes to the complaint only if:

  • the other party approves of the changes, in writing, and is given the chance to resolve the due process complaint through a resolution meeting, and
  • by no later than five (5) days before the due process hearing begins, the Administrative Hearing Commissioner grants permission for the changes

If the complaining party makes changes to the due process complaint, the timelines for the resolution meeting (within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving the complaint) and the time period for resolution (within thirty (30) calendar days of receiving the complaint) start again on the date the amended complaint is filed.

Under what circumstances can Due Process NOT be used?

The district cannot use due process when:

  • The student is a parentally-placed private school student and the parent has ignored a request, or has refused a request, for consent for an initial evaluation or reevaluation;
  • The parent has refused to give consent for the initial provision of special education and related services;
  • The parent has revoked their consent for special education and related services.

The parent cannot use due process when:

  • The chief complaint is that a teacher is not highly qualified (though you do have the option of filing a Child Complaint).
What steps must the district take once they receive my complaint?

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Division of Special Education, Compliance Section, must take the following steps once they receive a due process complaint:

  • Within 2 days of receiving the complaint DESE will forward the complaint to the Administrative Hearing Commission
  • Send a letter to the parent informing them about the option of Mediation, and enclose the following:
    • a copy of the procedural safeguards
    • Mediator List
    • Mediation booklet
    • a list of free or low-cost legal services
What steps must the district take once they receive my complaint?

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Division of Special Education, Compliance Section, must take the following steps once they receive a due process complaint:

  • Within 2 days of receiving the complaint DESE will forward the complaint to the Administrative Hearing Commission
  • Send a letter to the parent informing them about the option of Mediation, and enclose the following:
    • a copy of the procedural safeguards
    • Mediator List
    • Mediation booklet
    • a list of free or low-cost legal services

The public agency must take the following steps, once they receive a due process complaint:

  • If the public agency has not sent a prior written notice to a parent regarding the subject matter contained in their due process complaint, the public agency must, within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the due process complaint, send a response to the parent and the Administrative Hearing Commission that includes:
    • an explanation of why the public agency proposed or refused to take the action raised in the due process complaint
    • a description of other options that the child’s individualized education program (IEP) Team considered and the reasons why those options were rejected
    • a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the public agency used as the basis for the proposed or refused action
    • a description of the other factors that are relevant to the public agency’s proposed or refused action
  • Convene a Resolution Meeting within 15 days of receiving the due process complaint (unless both parties have agreed to mediation or have agreed to waive the resolution meeting).
    • The responsible public agency shall notify the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Administrative Hearing Commission of the date of the resolution meeting and the result or that a decision was made not to hold a resolution meeting.

Even if the public agency has challenged the sufficiency of a parent’s due process complaint and is awaiting the hearing officer’s decision on the matter, the public agency must still move forward with convening a resolution meeting (unless both parties agree to mediation or agree to waive the resolution meeting).

How do I file a Due Process Complaint?

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Compliance Department has forms available for download to assist you in filing a Due Process Complaint. The Due Process complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than 2 years from the date the parent or the public agency knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the complaint. The written complaint is sent to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). A copy of the written complaint must also be sent to the responsible public agency.

The 2 year timeline does not apply if the public agency specifically misrepresented that it had resolved the issues brought up in the complaint; or the public agency withheld information that it was required to provide.

Let Us Help

Do you have questions about a disability and how it may impact your child's education? Let our team help. Contact Us.

Subscribe

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This