Mediation, Due Process and Administrative Complaints

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 administrative complaintsmediation, and due process hearing.

Administrative Complaints

You have the right to file an administrative complaint with the 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 Secretary will appoint agency staff to investigate the complaint, and a decision must be issued within 60 days of receipt of the complaint. You will receive a copy of the final decision. 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.

Summary of Administrative Complaint Procedures

In an effort to promote efficiency, distribution of all information and notifications will be via email whenever possible, unless otherwise noted.

Overview of Administrative Complaint Filing Requirements
  • Any individual or organization may file a complaint regarding an alleged violation of the requirements of Part B of the IDEA or state special education regulations. These alleged violations regarding the identification, evaluation, placement, or provision of FAPE that occurred no more than one year prior to the date the complaint is received at the AOE, may be filed on behalf of a student with a disability.
  • Complaints may be filed via electronic mail; fax transmission, or U.S. postal service.
  • Administrative complaints must be filed in writing and may be filed using the available State form. If a complainant is unable to file a complaint in writing, the AOE will refer the complainant to a parent support/advocacy organization for assistance.
  • The complainant must sign the complaint. If the complainant is an organization, the person authorized to act on behalf of the organization must sign the complaint.
  • All complaints must meet the requirements of Rule 2365.1.5 (b) through (d). The AOE will not accept a complaint that fails to comply with Rule 2365.1.5 (b) through (d).
  • The Secretary of Education shall issue a written decision within 60 days of acceptance of the complaint. This decision is not subject to appeal per Rule 2365.1.5 (i), however, parties may pursue a due process complaint per Rule 2365.1.6.2.
  • Students supported by a 504 or educational support plan may file an administrative complaint with the regional office of civil rights (email: for more information).

Learn more about Administrative Complaint Procedures.

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

Administrative Complaint Form


Mediation is a free, voluntary process that will be used only if you and the school agree to take part. The trained and impartial mediator will 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 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.

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 Secretary, 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.

Request a Mediation by Submitting a Form
Request a Mediation by Writing a Letter to the Secretary of Education

Agency of Education
Special Education Mediation Service
219 North Main Street, Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641

Evaluate Your Mediation Process

Due Process

A special education due process hearing is a formal review conducted by a trained, impartial hearing officer appointed by the Agency of Education. Due process complaints may be filed with the agency 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'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.


If you are unable to write, you may use other means of communication to request mediation, due process or an administrative complaint. Email the Agency of Education's legal team or call (802) 479-1030. 

Contact Us

Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Daniel M. French
1 National Life Drive, Davis 5
Montpelier, VT 05620-2501

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