This one-of-a-kind, comprehensive resource provides information about the dispute resolution system, including: how to resolve conflicts through collaboration to avoid the dispute resolution process; how to prepare for state complaint investigations, mediations, and due process hearings; what is involved and what is expected in each; and what happens at the conclusion of the complaint investigation, mediation, or due process hearing, including how school staff can continue to work productively with parents. Using this book, readers will understand how to effectively use dispute resolution practices and procedures to facilitate collaborative and positive partnerships between parents and school personnel in order to better serve students with disabilities.
David F. Bateman, PhD, is a professor at Shippensburg University in the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education where he teaches courses on special education law, assessment, and facilitating inclusion. He is also a senior consultant at the American Institutes for Research. He is a former due process hearing officer for Pennsylvania where is was involved with 580 hearings. He uses his knowledge of litigation relating to special education to assist school districts in providing appropriate supports for students with disabilities. His latest area of research has been on the role of principals in special education. He has been a classroom teacher of students with learning disabilities, behavior disorders, intellectual disability, and hearing impairments, and a building administrator for summer programs. He has recently co-authored the following books: A Principal’s Guide to Special Education, A Teacher’s Guide to Special Education, Charting the Course: Special Education in Charter Schools, Current Trends and Legal Issues in Special Education, and Developing Educationally Meaningful and Legally Sound IEPs. Drs. Yell and Bateman are the editors of the Special Education Law, Policy, and Practice series published by Rowman & Littlefield.
Mitchell L. Yell, PhD, is the Fred and Francis Lester Palmetto Chair in Teacher Education and a professor in special education at the University of South Carolina. His professional interests include special education law, IEP development, progress monitoring, and parent involvement in special education. Dr. Yell has published 136 journal articles, 6 textbooks, 36 book chapters, and has conducted numerous workshops on various aspects of special education law, classroom management, and progress monitoring. His textbook, Special Education and the Law, is in its 5th edition. He co-authored the text Developing Educationally Meaningful and Legally Sound IEPs. Dr. Bateman and Dr. Yell are the editors of the Special Education Law, Policy, and Practice series published by Rowman & Littlefield. In 2020, he was awarded the Researcher of the Year from the Council for Exceptional Children. Dr. Yell also serves as a State-level due process review officer (SRO) in South Carolina and is on the Board of Directors of the Council for Exceptional Children. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Yell was a special education teacher in Minnesota for 12 years.
Jonas S. Dorego, MEd, is a retired compliance officer for the Guam Department of Education. Ms. Dorego has worked as a compliance officer for the last 20 years managing the Guam Department of Education’s General Supervision System, including managing special education disputes. Her experience includes providing direct technical assistance to school teams on how to develop legally defensible IEPs, preparing school administrators on how to avoid special education disputes with parents, assisting the DOE on how to resolve disputes without going to hearing, preparing school teams to prepare for the actual hearing, and how to implement hearing outcomes.
1 An Overview of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Dispute Resolution
The Legal Development of Special Education
The Courts and Special Education
Congress and Special Education
Primary Components of the IDEA
Textbox 1.1. Procedural Safeguards
Textbox 1.2. Procedural Rights of Special Educations Students When Disciplined (IDEA Regulations, 34 C.F.R.§ 530 to 534)
What Is the Dispute Resolution System of the IDEA?
2 Avoiding Dispute Resolution
The Critical Importance of a Good Parent–School Partnership
Factors that Contribute to Establishing Meaningful Parent–School Partnerships in Special Education
Textbox 2.1. Important Elements of Prior Written Notice
Table 2.1. Resources on Evidence-Based Practices
Summary: Factors that Contribute to Establishing Meaningful Parent-School Partnerships in Special Education
Factors that Contribute to Parent-School Conflicts in Special Education
Strategy #1: Provide Training to Administrators and Teachers on Conflict Resolution Procedures
Strategy #2: Recognize Situations that Lead to Parent-School Conflicts
Summary: Factors that Contribute to Parent–School Conflicts in Special Education
Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms
Strategy #1: Be Prepared for Possible Contentions IEP Meetings
Strategy #2: Listen Carefully and Be Willing to Resolve the Dispute
Strategy #3: Use an Ombudsperson
Strategy #4: Use IEP Facilitation
Summary: Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms
3 State Complaints
Why Are States Required to Develop and Implement Complaint Procedures?
What Is a State Complaint?
Who May File a State Complaint?
Textbox 3.1. What Should Be Included in a Complaint?
The Advantages of Filing a State Complaint
Tips on Completing a State Complaint
Textbox 3.2. Tips for filing and Reacting to State Complaints
Textbox 3.3. Possible Allegation in a State Complaint
The SEA Complaint Resolution Process
Textbox 3.4. Special Education Compliant Investigation Report—Complaint Decision
Differences Between a State Complaint and a Due Process Hearing
What Is Mediation?
Textbox 4.1. Benefits of Mediation
Mediation as a Process
Textbox 4.2. Rules of Mediation
Why Choose Mediation?
Step One: The Beginning of a Mediation Session
Step Two: The Specifics of the Issue Being Mediated
Step Three: Conduct the Mediation Session
Preparation for Mediation
What Makes for an Effective Mediation?
Textbox 4.3. Sample Mediation Agreement
5 The Resolution Meeting
Textbox 5.1. Timelines for the Resolution Meeting
The Courts and Resolution Meeting
Participants in the Resolution Meeting
Reaching a Resolution Agreement
Benefits of Resolution Meetings
Preparing for a Resolution Meeting
Textbox 5.2. Documents That Parents Should Bring to the Resolution Meeting
6 Settlement Agreements
The Purpose of a Settlement Agreement
Settlement Agreements and Mediation
Settlement Agreements and Resolution Meetings
The Contents of a Settlement Agreement
Enforcement of Settlement Agreements
7 Due Process Hearings
Due Process Hearings
One-Tier and Two-Tier Due Process Hearing Systems
What Is Meant by Special Education Due Process?
The Qualifications and Independence of the Hearing Officer
Textbox 7.1. Minimum Qualifications of Hearing Officers
Procedural and Substantive Issues
Textbox 7.2. Due Process Timelines (IDEA Regulations, 34 C.F.R § 300.508 et seq.)
Amended Due Process Hearing Complaint
Preliminary Meetings/Prehearing Due Process Hearing Conference
Prehearing Subject Matter
Disclosure of Exhibits, Witness List, and Introduction of Evidence
Due Process Hearing Basics
Textbox 7.3. Due Process Rights (IDEA Regulations, 34 C.F.R § 300.512 et seq.)
The Conduct of the Due Process Hearing
The Burden of Proof in a Due Process Hearing
Textbox 7.4. Example of the Flow of a Due Process Hearing
Hearing Officers’ Ruling
8 What to Expect in a Due Process Hearing
Before the Hearing
The Actual Hearing
Presentation of Witnesses
Written Closing Statements
Hearing Officer Ruling
Implementing the Decision
9 Expert Testimony
Expert Testimony and the Law
What Is an Expert Witness?
Special Education Expert Witness and the Supreme Court
Position on Expert Witness Feed of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
Textbox 9.1. COPPA Statement on Expert Witnesses
Expert Witness v. Lay Witness
Testifying as an Expert Witness
Mutually Agreed Upon Experts
10 Witness Preparation for a Due Process Hearing
The Basics of Testimony
Textbox 10.1. Testifying
Textbox 10.2. Testifying in Cross-Examination
Preparing Witnesses for Testifying
The Importance of Thorough Preparation
The Process of Testifying
What to Take to the Witness Seat?
Making an Impression
11 School District Preparation for Due Process Hearings
The Due Process Hearing Complaint
Preparing for a Due Process Hearing
Notifying and Interviewing Personnel Who May Be Involved in the Hearing
Gathering Relevant Documents
After a Hearing
Reviewing the Hearing Officer’s Order
Addressing Staff Morale
Addressing Inappropriate Actions by School Personnel
Providing Staff Development
Rebuilding Relationships with Parents
Adjusting Policies and Procedures
12 Parent Preparation for a Due Process Hearing
Why Parents File Due Process Complaints
Strategies for Improving Collaboration
Strategy #2: Treat Others Respectfully
Strategy #3: Meet Face-to-Face
Strategy #4: Contact the Correct School District Personnel
Strategy #5: Identify the Primary Issue
Strategy #6: Do Your Research
Strategy #7: Have Follow-Up Meetings
Deciding to Request a Due Process Hearing
Pre-Hearing Request Steps
Step One: Identify the Issue
Step Two: Consider the Outcome
Step Three: Gather and Organize All of the Files
Step Four: Review the Files
Step Five: Organize
Step Six: Table of Contents
Step Seven: Review Your Documents
Deciding on Hiring an Attorney
Choosing an Attorney
Pro Se Representation
Positive Aspects of Proceeding Pro Se
Negative Aspects of Proceeding Pro Se
Additional Advice for Parents
Textbox 12.1. Resources for Parents
Filing a Due Process Complaint
Textbox 12.2. Contents of the Complaint (IDEA Regulation, 34 C.F.R. § 300.508[b])
Consider Settling the Dispute
Participating in a Due Process Hearing
13 How to Read a Due Process Hearing Decision
What Is a Decision?
How to Read a Decision
Part One: Cover Page
Textbox 13.1. A list of items that may be included on the cover page
Part Two: Executive Summary
Part Three: The Issues in the Case
Part Four: The Facts of the Case
Part Five: Discussion and Conclusion of Law
Part Six: The Hearing Officer’s Order
What Happens After the Decision?
14 After a Due Process Hearing
The Relief that a Hearing Officer May Order
Table 14.1. Relief that Courts May Order
Appealing a Due Process Hearing Decision
Should There Be an Appeal?
Appealing a Hearing Officer’s Decision
The Appeals Process
After Appealing a Court Decision
Learning from a Due Process Hearing or State Complaint
Plane v. Car Crash Analogy
Opportunities to Learn from Due Process Hearings and State Complaints
Textbox 14.1. Additional Questions Regarding
Expenses to Be Weighed
About the Authors
With this book, Bateman, Yell, and Dorego offer a much-needed resource for a variety of stakeholders in which they address dispute resolution in a plain-language manner without watering down the essential knowledge and information of this topic. The authors treat the entire range of dispute resolution options, sharing their combined wealth of knowledge regarding multiple processes including the State Complaint Process, which is less often considered and discussed to the extent it is in this text. Readers will note that the information offered may help improve problem solving before litigation is required. They share their advice and strategies with a focus on better services and cooperation among professionals and parents—rather than adversarial processes which are so often the focus of texts. I believe the impact of this book will be a redirection of the collective efforts of stakeholders from time-consuming and costly dispute resolution processes to improved services and instruction for students with disabilities—where it should be.
Bateman, Yell, and Dorego’s new book provides readers with a focused and detailed clarification of a noticeable gap in the special education law and policy research--namely how parents and school officials can use dispute resolution processes under the IDEA to more successfully manage special education disputes. Additionally, the authors provide readers with a clear road map of recommendations based on decades of professional experiences to navigate the myriad and complexity of dispute resolution processes available under the IDEA, including mediation, resolution meetings, and due process hearings. The current evidence is compelling that effective dispute resolution is a cost and time saving alternative to handling special education disputes compared to litigation. One of the central themes of this book is how to effectively use dispute resolution practices and procedures to facilitate collaborative and positive partnerships between parents and school personnel. The result is a successful and appreciated addition to the special education law literature on how to effectively and efficiently use the procedural safeguards of alternative dispute resolution under the IDEA to better serve students with disabilities.
The authors provide an outstanding definition of the comprehensive nature of special education law, and offer an array of insights on how to proactively resolve conflict, thus preventing the costly and time-consuming ordeal that litigation involves. This resource is a preventive law jewel indeed.
This text is desperately needed: a book dedicated to the appeal process and legal rights of both sides of special education law (specific to IDEA). First and foremost, parents are always looking for resources to improve their understanding of their and their child's rights in the special education process. Readers can find all the information about this topic in one reputable place, follow the law at each step of the process, and understand the process as a whole.
This book explains complex legal processes in terms that can be comprehended by multiple stakeholders including administrators, educators, and parents. Additionally, incorporating the most recent supreme court decisions in the discussion provides relevant, up-to-date context on how the interpretation of IDEA has been impacted by this ruling. This book is written in a fair and equitable tone that respects the rights and responsibilities of both parties and explains the complexities of the legalities in terms that can be comprehended by individuals of varying educational backgrounds.
Any educator who finds themselves in the special education arena without the background education or experience to truly understand dispute resolution under the IDEA would benefit from this resource. The authors have provided a clear explanation for the reasons for the dispute resolution process, as well as how the process works.
An updated guide on special education disputes and overview of related issues, Dispute Resolution Under the IDEA balances providing technical and legal information with application-based information. This resource is vitally important and useful for administrators, special education teachers, general education teachers, related service providers, and parents.
The legal pitfalls in special education law can trap the uninformed practitioner, and its complicated processes can overwhelm parents and student advocates. The authors provide a well-organized text to assist both groups, providing guidance in this complicated but important part of school law. This book could also serve as a textbook in a special education law course for a variety of future educational professionals.
Dispute Resolutions Under the IDEA is an excellent resource for all special education stakeholders. It gives clear guidance on how to amicably resolve disagreements, as well as how to avoid them in the first place.
Not only will this text be a valuable addition to teacher prepatory programs, but it can benefit administrators, special education specialists and clinicians, parents of students with disabilities, and disabled individuals. Readers will gain clarity regarding the legal procedures of dispute resolution under IDEA, and how to resolve disputes equitably and legally, to fully protect disabled students and their parents. This is a much-needed resource in the field!
Bateman, Yell, and Dorego provide an excellent introduction to special education dispute processes. This is a must-read for parents of children with disabilities, school administrators, and those who teach administration and supervision courses.
Bateman, Yell, and Dorego provide a necessary resource for special education administrators, teachers, and parents of students with disabilities. Disagreements between schools and caregivers can occur when one entity believes FAPE is being denied to a student with a disability. The special education process can be daunting, and when a dispute arises, it can be overwhelming. This book provides important information and strategies for handling disputes once they get to a hearing, but more importantly, offers pro-active steps to avoid disputes altogether. This book demystifies the dispute process by explaining complex processes in understandable terms. It is an excellent resource for professionally and expertly resolving conflicts for the best interest of the student.
Dispute Resolution Under the IDEA is a thoughtfully written and well-organized book. This book really addresses the intent of IDEA: it offers all stakeholders the same valuable information! The law encourages schools and parents to work together to establish a cooperative process, because no party should have information that provides them a 'unique advantage', and this book gets to the heart of that goal. When everyone involved in the special education process truly understands the provisions of the law and what schools are to provide, there should be less need for mediation and dispute resolution. This book should be mandatory reading in administrator licensing and teacher preparation programs. It would also be valuable for schools to provide parents with this easy to understand book at the beginning of student’s journey into special education.
This book is much needed. Special education disputes between parents and school officials can be costly financially and emotionally. There is no doubt this book will help stakeholders negotiate conflict when it occurs. The authors skillfully combine legal guidance with practical advice as they explain the steps to take and why to take them to ensure an appropriate education for students with disabilities.
Dispute Resolution Under the IDEA is essential reading for anyone interested in knowing what families and schools can—and cannot—expect with the dispute process. The chapters are engaging, clear, and detailed. This book is grounded in current cases and provides the 'nuts and bolts' that other texts miss. I highly recommend!
This book fills an important gap in special education law materials. It supports educators, school leaders, and families in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the dispute resolution process through a user-friendly, step-by-step explanation presented by experts well-versed in both policy and practice. It will serve as an excellent desk reference for specific aspects of the process as needed!
Models, samples, artifacts, checklists
Process maps for planning and doing