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Due Process Hearing

A due process hearing (also known as an impartial hearing) is a formal process to resolve disagreements between a parent of a student with a disability and a school district. A parent or a school district may submit a written, due process complaint notice requesting an impartial hearing on any matter relating to a proposal or a refusal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a student with a disability or a student suspected of having a disability, or the provision of a free appropriate public education for such student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The parties present their cases and refute evidence before an impartial hearing officer (IHO) who issues a written decision. The IHO’s decision is legally binding and enforceable in any State court of competent jurisdiction (a State court that has authority to hear this type of case) or in a federal district court of the United States. Final, written impartial hearing decisions must be made available to the public, as well as the Commissioner's Advisory Panel for Special Education Services, in accordance with the IDEA.

The Questions and Answers on Impartial Due Process Hearings for Students with Disabilities document clarifies the impartial hearing process and aims to assist all parties to better understand their responsibilities relating to impartial hearings so that disputes over special education are resolved in a legally compliant and timely manner. In addition, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has developed a sample due process complaint notice form that may be used to file for an impartial hearing. Although it is not required to use this form, it is recommended to help ensure that the required information is completed.

The NYSED encourages parents and school districts to use collaborative, non-adversarial means such as mediation to resolve complaints regarding the education of a student with a disability whenever possible.


Sample Due Process Complaint Notice Form to Request an Impartial Hearing

March 2014

Attached is a revised sample Due Process Complaint Notice to provide parents and school districts with a model form to assist in filing for a due process proceeding (impartial hearing) relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a student with a disability or a student suspected of having a disability or the provision of a free appropriate public education to such student.  The form has been revised to request information from parents who request an impartial hearing as to whether they have another impartial hearing pending or, within the prior year, had requested an impartial hearing and subsequently withdrew their request.  This information will assist school districts to timely appoint an impartial hearing officer.

The New York State Education Department is required under federal law and regulations to develop this model form.  School districts must provide information to parents about the availability of this form.  School districts, parents or their attorneys may choose to use this form or provide the information in another format.  However, failure to provide the required information as noted on the sample form may result in the delay or denial of a resolution session and/or a due process hearing and the reduction of attorneys' fees that may be awarded by a court.   

This sample form may be used to submit a complaint (also known as a request for an impartial hearing) to resolve a disagreement about the identification, evaluation or placement of a student with a disability or a student suspected of having a disability or regarding the provision of a free appropriate public education for such student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


Questions regarding the use of this form or the procedures involved in an impartial hearing proceeding may be directed to the Special Education Due Process Unit at (518) 473-0170 or to specedih@nysed.gov.