School Special Education Print Why IDEA Parents File Complaints Against Schools Conflicts That Cause Parents to File Formal Complaints By Ann Logsdon Updated July 01, 2019 More in School Special Education Getting Involved Readiness Learning At Home and Afterschool Learning Disabilities Special education disagreements happen. Parents of children with learning disabilities may sometimes disagree with how schools manage their children's programs. Fortunately, many of those disagreements can be resolved informally. When problems are severe, parents may need to take formal actions to get them resolved. Learning the top conflicts that cause parents to file formal complaints or take legal actions against school districts can help you determine if you need to do the same. How Does IDEA Protect Special Needs Children? 1 Teachers and Staff Not Reporting Progress to Parents Cavan Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images When teachers and school staff do not share progress reports with parents, conflicts can arise. Failure to communicate can be caused by: Failure to agree upon what will be communicated, as well as how and whenParents and/or teachers misunderstanding what was agreed uponForgetfulnessLack of classroom support needed to implement the planLack of cooperation from the child to follow his part of the planA teacher agreeing to implement a plan she could not realistically implementUnreasonable expectations from parentsIn rare instances, teachers or school staff may not implement a plan because of willful noncompliance or negligenceCommunication within the family is not effective If you are feeling frustrated in any way with your child's special education, check out these ideas on how to bring concerns to special ed teachers. What Special Education Teachers Want Parents to Know 2 Hostility Between Parents and School Staff Conflicts are worsened when parents and school staff are hostile to each other. When parents' and teachers' behaviors become disrespectful and angry, relationships can become so strained that the child can suffer emotionally and academically. Some reasons hostile relationships can develop include: Parents and/or teachers do not respect each otherTeachers, administrators, or parents refuse to make changes to accommodate the childParents make unrealistic demands in an angry, confrontational mannerParents or teachers feel they are not valued, their input is not wanted, and that the child is not receiving an appropriate educationThe school or home environment is negative, unsafe, rigid, or nonsupportive Mutual respect between parents and teachers is critical in order to maintain a supportive environment for their child. Parents can become extremely frustrated if they are not actively involved in all aspects of their child's care, and should be if they are left out. Remind yourself why parents have an important role as part of the special education team for their child. 3 School Does Not Implement IEP Failure to provide specially designed instruction, implement an individualized education program (IEP), or provide related services required on an IEP are frequent reasons parents file formal complaints against school districts. Failure to implement an IEP may involve: Students not receiving specially designed instructionStudents not receiving adaptations and modifications for testingStudents not receiving related services such as speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or other services listed on the IEP 4 Failure to Provide Equal Access to School Programs and Services When schools fail to provide equal access to programs and services such as extra-curricular activities, sports programs, or access to advanced courses with reasonable accommodations, parents may file complaints. In many cases, such problems are covered under Section 504. In some cases, however, denial of access to school programs and services can fall under IDEA. 5 When and How to File a Complaint If the school district has violated a legal rule, such as failing to hold an IEP meeting, conduct an evaluation, meet a time limit or implement the IEP, you can file a complaint. Each school district has its own complaint procedure. IDEA requires you to formally file for IEP due process within two years after you know of the dispute. If you do not file within this time frame, you forfeit your rights to file a lawsuit against the school district. During the hearing process, your child is entitled to remain in their current placement until you reach an agreement with the school, settle the matter through mediation, or get a court decision. Obtaining legal services or a special education advocate during due process is within your rights as a parent and may increase your chances of success. However, legal costs can be notably large in amount and can range from $1500 to $7500 for a two-day hearing. In addition, an attorney may spend 10-20 hours preparing for the hearing. Before taking the next step, make sure you are familiar with parents rights in special education and how special education mediation promotes conflict resolution. It can be difficult to balance your frustration in a conflict and what is best for your child. Only you know which option—working to try to correct the problem without taking legal action or filing a complaint instead—will work out the best for your child over the long haul. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Get diet and wellness tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Bergman, E., and A. Fiester. Teaching and Learning the Techniques of Conflict Resolution for Challenging Ethics Consultations. Journal of Clinical Ethics. 2015. 26(4):312-4.