Dispute Resolution and Information
Sometimes parents/guardians and schools have different views on how to serve the needs of a student with a disability, or a student suspected of having a disability. Sometimes there may be a disagreement. There are several options available to parents/guardians to resolve your disagreement. These options include filing for mediation and/or due process, or filing a State Complaint. Information on each process as well as links to forms and additional resources are listed below.
Mediation is a voluntary process that can be used to resolve disagreements between the parents/guardians of a student with a disability, or a student suspected of having a disability, and the school responsible for the student's education.
>> For more information about special education mediation, click on the link below:
>> The form to request mediation can be found at the link below:
A due process complaint is a formal complaint regarding the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education for a student with a disability or suspected of having a disability, which may result in a due process hearing.
>> For more information about special education due process complains, click on the link below:
>> The form to request mediation and due process complaint can be found at the link below:
A State Complaint is a written, signed letter directed to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services, which alleges that the school system violated a requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and accompanying State and federal regulations.
>> For more information about special education state complaints, click on the link below:
>> The MSDE Special Education State Complaint Resolution is available at the link below:
>> The form to file a State complaint can be found at the links below:
Family Support & Dispute Resolution Branch
The MSDE Family Support and Resolution Branch facilitates informal dispute resolution by responding to parent inquiries, assisting parents with navigating Maryland's early intervention and special education systems, and connecting with parents with community resources and local personnel who can assist with concerns.
The MSDE contact at the Family Support & Dispute Resolution Branch is:
Section Chief, Family Support Service
Maryland State Department of Education
Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services
Parental Rights: The Maryland Procedural Safeguards Notice
The procedural safeguards includes a full explanation of parental rights in an easily understandable manner and in a parent/guardian's native language. This procedural safeguards notice applies to children and families receiving services through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and to children and youth with disabilities receiving services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
>> The Procedural Safeguards Notice can be found at the link below:
>> The Parental Rights: Maryland Procedural Safeguards is also available in another language other than English. To view the safeguards in other languages, click on the link below:
Independent Education Evaluation Policy
A parent/guardian has the right to request an independent education evaluation (IEE) at public expense if the parent/guardian disagrees with an evaluation conducted by MSD. An IEE may be an educational, psychological, speech, or other type of assessment used in the diagnosis or assessment of strengths and weaknesses of students with disabilities, or a student suspected of having a disability.
>> For more information on the policy and procedures of MSD's independent education evaluation, click on the link below:
Additional Free or Low-Cost Assistance related to Special Education Disputes
>> For the listing of free or low-cost assistance for special education disputes, click on the link below: