Special Education

Dispute Resolution

Parents of a student receiving special education services who disagree with decisions made by the school regarding a student's identification, eligibility, evaluation, Individualized Education Program (IEP) or placement have three options available for resolving disputes with the school. These options include mediation, due process hearing and administrative complaint.

Mediation

Mediation is a free, voluntary process that will be used only if you and the school agree to take part. The mediator's job is to help you and the school district come to an agreement, not to make decisions for you. You or the school may end mediation at any time. Agreeing to mediation will not delay or deny access to a due process hearing, and you may ask for mediation at any time, either before or after you request a hearing. The Agency of Education will offer mediation when you or the school asks for a due process hearing, but you are not required to accept it. Mediation will be scheduled at a time and place convenient to you and the school district.

A trained, impartial mediator who is not an employee of the school district and has no conflict of interest with your situation will conduct the mediation. The Vermont Agency of Education has a list of qualified mediators who are assigned, on a rotating basis, to work with parents and school staff. You and the school district may agree on a different mediator. You may bring an advocate, support person and/or family members to mediation. Your school district may bring its lawyer but only if you bring one, too. The information that you and the school district discuss during mediation is confidential. What you and the school district say cannot be repeated in a later due process hearing or court proceeding. If you and the school district reach an agreement, it will be put in writing and become part of your student's permanent education records.

To Request Mediation

Mediation may be requested in writing using the form provided below or by writing a letter to the Secretary. If writing a letter to the Commissioner, you must include all of the information required by the mediation form below. For questions or concerns about the process, contact the Agency of Education's legal section.

NOTICE: The Request for Mediation Form and the Mediation Evaluation Form must be downloaded to your computer in order to work properly. Filling out these forms inside your web browser, not downloaded, will result in your information not being sent to us.

Due Process System Information & Forms

A special education due process hearing is a formal review conducted by a trained, impartial hearing officer appointed by the Vermont Agency of Education. Due process complaints may be filed with the department regarding special education and 504 issues for students.

Two separate forms have been developed for filing a due process complaint; one for parents and one for school districts. A hearing may be requested in writing using the form(s) provided below or by writing a letter to the Secretary. If writing a letter to the Secretary, you must include all of the information required by the relevant regulations and the due process complaint form(s) below. For questions or concerns about the process, contact the Agency of Education's legal section.

Due Process Hearing Officer Decisions

Use the links below to access individual case decisions. These decisions might be used as resources for parent advocates, school administrators, special education attorneys, or by other states.

2015

2014

2013

2012

2010 - 2011
None.

2007 - 2009
Available upon request.

Administrative Complaints

You have the right to file an administrative complaint with the Vermont Secretary of Education if you believe a school district has violated federal or state special education laws. An organization or a group of parents may also file a complaint if it believes that there are violations affecting a number of students. The Commissioner will appoint department staff to investigate the complaint, and a decision must be issued within 60 days of receipt of the complaint, unless an extension is granted. You will receive a copy of the decision.

To investigate the complaint, the Agency of Education may, but is not required to, conduct an on-site review. The department will also give you an opportunity to present additional information, orally or in writing. Its staff will review all relevant information and make a decision about whether the school district has violated federal or state special education laws. If your administrative complaint is also the subject of a due process hearing, the department will not investigate any part of the complaint that is being addressed as part of the due process hearing until the conclusion of the hearing. The due process hearing decision is binding.

To File an Administrative Complaint

To file an administrative complaint, an individual may download, fill in and mail the form below, or may write a letter to the Secretary. If writing a letter to the Secretary, you must include all of the information required by the relevant regulations and the administrative complaint form below. Send the completed form or letter to:

Secretary of Education
Vermont Agency of Education
219 North Main Street, Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641

For Questions or Additional Assistance

If you are unable to write, you may use other means of communication to request mediation, due process or an administrative complaint. Contact the Agency of Education's legal section at (802) 479-1111 or AOE.MediationDPinfo@state.vt.us

Page Last Updated on December 10, 2014