A due process hearing is a court-like review process governed by administrative laws. A due process complaint is a filing by an individual or organization on matters of conflict related to the:
- educational placement of a child, or
- provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the child.
Complaints must be written and signed and must contain specific information (identified further below), including a statement that a public agency has violated a requirement of Part B of IDEA or its implementing regulations and the facts upon which the statement is based. The party filing a due process complaint must provide a copy to the other party and forward a copy to the state educational agency (SEA). Beyond providing these copies, the information contained in the due process complaint must be kept confidential.
In Oklahoma, the Special Education Resolution Center (SERC) will provide a highly-trained hearing officer who will preside over the hearing and whose decisions have the effect of law and are binding upon the parties participating in the hearing. There are special rules that apply to Due Process proceedings; they are located in the Due Process in Special Education: Guidelines for Parents and School Administrators and in the Oklahoma Special Education Handbook.
During a hearing, both parties subpoena and present witnesses and perform cross examination; present admissible evidence; may present depositions or affidavits; engage in closing arguments; and request that the hearing officer rule favorably on their positions. Parties may represent themselves or be represented by attorneys at their own expense. The hearing officer makes the decision. If the decision is appealed, a judge makes the decision.
How can a due process complaint be filed?
Oklahoma has procedures for a parent, adult student, or a school district to request a due process hearing. Parents and adult students may request a hearing by filing one of the following:
Where are these forms are sent to?
Oklahoma State Department of Education
Attn: Special Education Services
2500 North Lincoln Boulevard, Suite 412
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4599
Oklahoma’s due process system has 2 types of hearings, a regular due process hearing and an expedited due process hearing:
- A regular due process hearing is an administrative hearing to resolve disputes on any matter related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and the provision of a FAPE.
- An expedited due process hearing is an administrative hearing to resolve disputes concerning discipline. The expedited hearing will occur within 20 school days of the request, with a decision rendered within 10 school days of the hearing.