Dispute Resolution

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to have a formal process for parents and districts to resolve special education related disputes. We offer facilitation and mediation of special education meetings, as well as overseeing the state administrative complaints and due process hearings systems. For more information about the Dispute Resolution processes, please reference the Special Education Manual.

We believe:

  • Conflict provides opportunities
  • Perceptions of neutrality, fairness, and honesty are the currency of the office
  • Everyone deserves to be heard and understood
  • Conflict should be resolved at the lowest level appropriate
  • Good outcomes are child-centered and IDEA compliant

Facilitation is a process offered to help special education teams reach agreements and decisions related to students' individual education programs. Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team meetings, and other special education team meetings, may benefit from skilled and capable facilitators who can assist the team in working together. The facilitator is neutral, is not a member of the team, and makes no decisions for the team. The facilitator is knowledgeable about special education, skilled at running effective meetings, and adept at managing challenging issues that may arise when teams disagree. There is no charge for facilitation to either the district or the parent. To request facilitation, contact SDE Dispute Resolution.

Mediation is a voluntary process where an State Department of Education (SDE) trained neutral and third-party provides a structure for parents/adult students and district personnel to identify points of agreement. They work to resolve points of disagreement concerning the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or provision of free appropriate public education (FAPE). Mediation aims to build positive working relationships, encourages mutual understanding, and helps the parties focus on their common interest – the student. There is no charge for mediation to either the district or the parent. To request mediation, contact SDE Dispute Resolution.

State administrative complaints can be filed by any individual or organization alleging any violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B (IDEA) including an alleged failure to comply with a previous due process hearing decision. State complaint procedures are outlined in IDEA regulations requiring that, in part, a complaint must allege a violation that occurred no more than one year prior to the date the complaint has been received.

A due process hearing request involves an allegation or a series of allegations filed with the SDE by either parent/adult student or the district on issues relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and the provision of free appropriate public education (FAPE).

An expedited due process hearing is an administrative hearing to resolve disputes concerning discipline of a student with disabilities. An expedited due process hearing is a request to have an independent hearing officer review a disciplinary decision within twenty (20) school days, with a decision rendered within ten (10) days of the hearing.


Frequently Asked Questions

General
Facilitation
Mediation
State Administrative Complaints
Expedited Due Process Hearings
Due Process Hearings

Training Resources

For Dispute Resolution training, please view the Idaho Training Clearinghouse.