If a parent does not agree with the IEP created for his/her/their child, the IDEA allows the parent to file a complaint against the school district.
The complaint must allege that the school district has deprived the student of a free appropriate public education ("FAPE"). To meet this standard, the school must offer an IEP that is reasonably calculated to enable a child to make educational progress in light of the child's circumstances. The standard is highly dependent on the facts of the case and the subject of many judicial opinions - you will benefit from the advice of a special education attorney in determining whether a FAPE was denied in your case. Depending on the facts of the case, the complaint may allege that a FAPE was denied on the basis of the substance of the IEP, the program recommended in the IEP, the school placement, the evaluation conducted by the school district, and/or the classification of the child.
After a parent files a complaint, the school district must meet with the parent (or the parent and his/her/their attorney) to attempt to resolve the complaint. If the complaint is not resolved at the resolution session or otherwise settled, an impartial hearing is conducted in front of a hearing officer. The impartial hearing is similar to a trial in which the school district and parent present evidence and witness testimony to support their case.
The impartial hearing process can be stressful and complicated, and the experience and knowledge of an attorney can be invaluable to assist parents in the process. The Law Office of Justin Shane represents parents in the impartial hearing process.