Resolving Disputes

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Please be reminded that you may seek technical assistance regarding special education as well as file State Complaints, Due Process Complaints, and Mediation via email to Please visit our COVID-19 and Virginia Public Schools page for additional resources and guidance regarding the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency on Special Education in Virginia.


meetingSpecial education disputes are better resolved at the local level, if possible. Parents and school administrators are encouraged to work together to come to an understanding of mutual concerns and come to an agreement in the best interest of children with disabilities. VDOE offers several resolution options to disputes.

Options for Addressing Issues & Concerns

Ombudsman for Special Education is an informal source of information and referral, aids in answering individuals' questions and assists in the resolution of concerns and issues. The ombudsman serves as a resource to parents in non-legal special education matters.

Special Education Mediation can assist parents and school staff when they are in negotiations. A mediator can convene and conduct a meeting to clarify issues, focus on the needs of a child, and explore and evaluate possible solutions in a confidential setting.

Facilitated IEPs use a facilitator to assist with communication in developing an IEP.

Complaints are generally expressions of some disagreement with a procedure or a process regarding special education programs, procedures or services.

Due Process uses an administrative hearing process before a hearing officer to resolve disagreements over such issues as related to a child's eligibility for special education and related services, evaluation of a child with a disability, appropriateness of a child's services and/or placement, or any other matter under free, appropriate public education, including disciplinary matters.