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State Complaint Basics

Information on IDEA State Complaints




  • Advocates Talk Complaints
    A chat with two advocates using state complaints as part of their advocacy practice (16 mins)
  • Upper Arlington, Ohio complaint
    Attorney Kerry Agins & advocate Brenda Louisin discuss a state complaint filed by 17 families (29 mins)
  • Disability Rights Iowa Complaints
    Nathan Kirstein, DRI staff attorney, discusses two complaints filed by his agency regarding facilities serving troubled youth in Iowa. (32 mins)
  • Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc.
    Attorney Maria Blaeuer discusses complaints filed by her agency against DC Public Schools regarding failure to provide adequately trained personnel to teach students with disabilities.

Dispute Resolution Data

Policy Letters issued by the U.S. Dept. of Education

  • Dear Colleague Letter on Use of Due Process Procedures After a Parent Has Filed a State Complaint: This April 2015 letter from the U.S. Dept. of Education clarifies IDEA dispute resolution procedures. (PDF)
  • Letter to Anonymous: This October 2019 letter clarifies that an SEA’s complaint decision to remedy the denial of appropriate services must be implemented even if the child relocates to another state. (PDF)
  • Letter to Zirkel: This July 2019 letter addresses a series of questions regarding a state educational agency’s (SEA’s) complaint procedures process, in particular, about enforcement actions and resolution of state complaints.
  • Letter to Zirkel: This May 2019 letter addresses a series of questions regarding the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state complaint and due process hearing procedures.
  • Letter to Lipsett: This September 2015 letter clarifies that State Educational Agencies must issue a written decision to the complainant even in cases where the complaint is resolved by accepting a proposal by the local educational agency. (PDF)
  • Letter to Deaton: This May 2015 letter clarifies that State Educational Agencies that require districts to take corrective action following a state complaint are not entitled to wait out a subsequent due process hearing before enforcing their orders. (PDF)
  • Letter to Reilly: This November 2014 letter to Maine's Disability Rights Center clarifies the "burden of proof" in investigations of state complaints. (PDF)

Every state offers information on filing IDEA written state complaints.
Be sure to read your state's guidance before filing a state complaint!