Framework (What’s Required):
From time to time, disputes may arise between the parent(s) and the school district relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE), for a student with a disability. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) Special Education Mediation Program encourages and supports the resolution of any dispute at the lowest level possible and in a prompt, efficient, and effective manner. The possible options for resolving disputes include, but are not limited to:
- meetings of the student's admission, review, and dismissal committee;
- meetings or conferences with the student's teachers;
- meetings or conferences, subject to local school district policies, with campus administrator(s), the special education director of the district (or the shared services arrangement to which the district may be a party), the superintendent of the district, or the board of trustees of the district;
- requesting mediation through TEA in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),and 34 CFR §300.506(b).
- filing a complaint with TEA in accordance with 34 CFR §300.153(b); or
- requesting a due process hearing through TEA in accordance with IDEA and 34 CFR §300.507;
- upon the filing of a request for a due process hearing, the parent(s) and the school district shall also be provided with an opportunity to resolve the dispute through the mediation process established by 34 CFR §300.510(a).
Methods (What We Do):
Local resolution is a voluntary process that should be the first option, giving parents and the district the chance to resolve any concerns.
- As a first step, the parent(s) should contact their child’s school and speak to the Principal or Special Education Chairperson regarding a concern.
- If contacting the campus personnel is not providing a solution to the problem, the parent(s) should contact the special education personnel at the elementary and secondary field offices and ask for the Special Education Program Specialist assigned to their child’s campus for assistance. Program Specialist may be reached at (713) 556-8000.
- If the Program Specialist is not able to assist with a solution, the parent(s) should contact the Special Education Senior Manager at the respective field office. The Senior Manager can be reached at (713) 556-8000.
- Additionally, a Parent Liaison may assist with the concern from the Office of Special Education Services. The Parent Liaison may be reached at (713) 556-7025.
- If all efforts to reach a solution with the district are unsuccessful, the parent(s) or other interested party can file a complaint with the Texas Education Agency.
The parent(s) may also file a due process with TEA to resolve the issue(s) before a special education hearing officer
- If the parties resolve any issues, the parents should contact TEA either verbally or in writing to request that the complaint/due process be withdrawn or that certain issues be dismissed.
- If there are any remaining issues that were not resolved, TEA will evaluate whether it must investigate those issues.