Thursday, June 21, 2007

Are State Complaints Authorized by IDEA

I've been researching state complaint procedures. I was surprised to learn that the Individuals With Disabilities Act does not create state complaints. They are apparently a creature of the federal regulations.

I'm amazed that somebody hasn't challenged the state complaint system. Special Education, unlike most other areas of law, offers the parties multiple dispute resolution mechanisms for the same dispute. For example a parent could file a state complaint. If unsatisfied with the result, the parent could request mediation. If still unsatisfied the parent could file a due process complaint, which now includes the resolution meeting procedure. This is before any appeal.

Given the fact that the statute has been reauthorized and amended in the 20 some years since the state complaint system has been around, yet it still doesn't officially sanction the state complaint procedures, I'm surprised that some disgruntled party has not taken on the very existence of the complaint system


  1. IDEA 2004 does reference state complaints. It does so in passing, but sufficiently in my for OSEP to write regulations. 20 USC 1415(f)(3)(F) in discussing impartial due process decisions includes a rule of construction that states "Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to affect the right of a parent to file a complaint with the State educational agency."

  2. Paul thanks for the comment.

    There are some vague references in IDEA that we all take to mean state complaints, including the one you cite.

    It is curious, however, that OSEP cites as authority for the state complaint procedures at 34 CFR section 300.151-153 only 20 USC Section 1221e-3 (the statute authorizing DOE Secy to promulgate regs in general)

    I'm glad to learn that somebody else is interested in this stuff. Please consider voting for my blog on the bloggers choice award link on the blog.

    Thanks for your comment.