Due Process Hearing
If your disabled child is not receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in public school, you may need to advocate for a specific IEP or other accommodations. Unfortunately, parents and schools do not always agree on what the IEP for a particular child should be. Parents who do not believe an appropriate program has been put in place can ask for a due process hearing. This is a proceeding in which both the school and parent can present their views, supported by evidence and legal arguments, before a hearing officer. If you need to request a due process hearing, you should call the seasoned Washington D.C. special education lawyers of the Law Office of Matthew T. Famiglietti for representation. We have years of experience advocating at hearings on behalf of disabled children and their families.Due Process Hearing
You have two years from the date on which you knew or should have known about the action you believe violates your child’s rights to an education to file a due process complaint. There are exceptions, however, for parents who are stopped from asking for the hearing due to a school’s particular misrepresentation that it resolved the problem in question or the school’s withholding of information that should have been provided to the parent under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
It is wise to retain an experienced Washington D.C. special education lawyer to file a complaint to seek a due process hearing. In some cases, schools argue that the parents’ complaints are insufficient, and it’s more likely they’ll raise this argument if you aren’t represented by a lawyer who understands this highly specialized area of law. However, your child, in most cases, stays in his or her regular program until either an agreement is reached, or the due process hearing is held, and the Hearing Officer Determination has been issued.
After a complaint has been sent to the school, our Washington D.C. special education lawyers will also send a complaint to the Office of Dispute Resolution. Sometimes parents prefer to use special education mediation rather than undergo a formal due process hearing before a hearing officer, but to elect mediation, you’ll need to ask for it prior to the end of the due process hearing period.
There is a 30-day period after a complaint is received that is known as a resolution period. The school district is supposed to address the problems you raised in the complaint. It has 10 days from receiving the complaint to respond, explaining why the school took or refused to take the action in question and describing other options that were considered and discarded.
In some cases, our Washington D.C. special education attorneys can ask that the case be accelerated. For example, it may be appropriate to accelerate the matter if the school doesn’t give you a necessary resolution meeting within 15 days during the resolution period to talk about the due process complaint.Hearing Period
After the 30 day resolution period, if the school doesn’t appropriately resolve your concerns, there is a 45-day hearing period. The due process hearing is similar to a trial, but it is an administrative proceeding. The parent and school go before a hearing officer. Both parties are entitled to retain an attorney and to submit evidence and arguments. It may be appropriate to present expert testimony on the specific challenges of children with a disability.
A record is made of the hearing. Both sides are given an opportunity to make an opening statement, call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, and give a closing statement that summarizes the evidence and arguments from their perspectives.Consult a Seasoned Washington D.C. Firm to Represent You at a Due Process Hearing
It is important to retain a knowledgeable special education lawyer if you need to ask for a due process hearing for your child. An IEP can have a significant impact on a child’s life and future learning and work opportunities. Matthew T. Famiglietti represents students with disabilities in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. Complete our online form or call the Law Office of Matthew T. Famiglietti at (202) 669-5880.