Special Education Due Process Hearings

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The Office of Dispute Resolution and Administrative Services is charged with the responsibility of managing and monitoring a due process hearing system. We provide information to help individuals understand the steps for requesting and managing an impartial due process hearing. This information is not intended as legal advice or as an interpretation of the laws and regulations governing special education in Virginia. The information will, however, help in understanding the implementation of these laws and regulations.

What is a special education due process hearing?

The due process hearing is an impartial procedure used to resolve disagreements over issues related to special education services that arise between a parent and a school division. The right of the parents or the school division to request a due process hearing is guaranteed by federal and state laws governing the education of children with disabilities.

What is the difference between a special education complaint and a due process hearing?

A complaint can be filed by anyone. The complaint process usually involves a review of the alleged procedural violations. An example would be a situation where services are not being provided to a child with a disability in accordance with the student's Individualized Education program (IEP). A complaint can also focus on any particular process or procedure that is a violation of special education law or regulation.

A due process hearing is a process wherein a party alleges an issue relating to the identification, evaluation, or education of a child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for the child. Due process hearings are likely to involve disputes between the parent and the local school division over the appropriateness or nature of the student's program or services.

Due Process Documents

Hearing Officer Decisions (by fiscal year)

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) publishes its hearing officer decisions to promote a better understanding of the special education due process procedure, agency policy, and the application of special education regulations.

To achieve an appropriate balance between a citizen's rights to access records of governmental activities and privacy concerns, the VDOE will publish the hearing officer decisions in a manner that preserves personal privacy. To do so, the VDOE removes any information that could possibly identify the student or removes information that could be used to determine the identity of a student by inference.