Any person who has a concern about the education of a student with a disability can raise the issue in one of the several ways. For example, it is always appropriate to discuss the matter with the student's teacher or principal at the local school, or it is also helpful to contact the Director of Exceptional Children Program in the central office of the school system, charter school, or state-operated program.
The Exceptional Children Division's consultants for dispute resolution and consultants for instructional support and related services are also able to offer consultation to assist parents, advocates, or school system, charter school, or state-operated programs personnel who request help with problem-solving.
Consultants at the Department of Public Instruction are neutral and refrain from taking sides when there is a disagreement, but consistently advocate for appropriate services for children with disabilities. They are committed to the protection of rights for children with disabilities and their parents.
An informal means of problem-solving is provided through the Exceptional Children Division's Facilitated IEP Program for school systems, charter schools, state-operated programs, and parents.
Formal means for dispute resolution are also available through the Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children Division. These options are requirements of federal and state laws governing special education -Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), and Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities (PDF).
When there is an unresolved disagreement over-identification, evaluation or educational placement of a child with a disability or the provision of free appropriate public education, the options for dispute resolution are mediation, formal written complaint, and due process hearing. A formal complaint filed on the same issue(s) as contained in a petition for a due process hearing will not be investigated. These options are also available to the adult student who has reached the age of majority (18) unless legally deemed incompetent or unable to make educational decisions.