Dispute Resolution Options

  • The LAUSD Division of Special Education strives to meet the unique educational needs of all exceptional children with each Individualized Education Program (IEP) written; however, disagreements arise occasionally. When disagreements occur, parents have three options to pursue a resolution to the disagreement:

     

    1)     Informal Dispute Resolution

    Informal Dispute Resolution or “IDR” is an optional dispute resolution process available to parents. IDR is a District process that is designed to be faster, less formal and less adversarial than mediation and due process proceedings. In the IDR process, parents identify their issues and concerns and the District attempts to work with the parent to quickly resolve the issues identified.

     

    2)     Mediation Only

    “Mediation Only” is a state-level, voluntary dispute resolution process under the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). In Mediation Only, a neutral mediator assists you and the District in discussing and attempting to resolve your disagreement. The mediators are not employees of the District and do not have any personal interest in the disagreement. The mediators are selected on an impartial basis by the State and know the laws and regulations relating to the provision of special education and related services. The Mediation Only process includes a mediation conference attended by you, the assigned mediator, and a District representative who has decision-making authority. Lawyers or advocates, for the student/ parent or for the District, are not permitted to participate in Mediation Only.

     

    3)     Formal Due Process Hearing

    Due process hearing requests are dispute resolution proceedings required to be available to parents and school districts under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You or the District may file a due process complaint on any matter relating to a proposal or refusal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of your child or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to your child. The proceedings begin with the submission of a complaint notice and include a resolution period with a mandatory resolution session meeting, optional mediation, and a due process hearing before an impartial hearing officer.  The District convenes the resolution session meeting.  The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) conducts the optional mediation and the due process hearing.  It may not be necessary to go through all of the due process proceedings to reach resolution. A due process complaint may be resolved by mutual agreement of the parties at any stage of the proceedings.

     

    Publications:

    District Reference Guide 1410.9: "Special Education Dispute Resolution - The Three Options For Parents Wishing to Initiate a form of Dispute Resolution Regarding the Proposed Components of an IEP: (1) Informal Dispute Resolution, (2) State Mediation Only, and (3) Formal Due Process Hearing” .