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Sample Complaints

This section provides a variety of state complaints. Some contain both the complaint submission and the response from the state educational agency (SEA). Others contain only the report issued by the state educational agency. Complaints are arranged by issue and the state is indicated in parenthesis. Many complaints involve several issues and are therefore listed under more than one issue. All documents are PDF. The free PDF Reader is available here.

The following states make state complaint decisions publicly available online: Colorado, Delaware (withholds district name), District of Columbia, Indiana (not current), Kansas (withholds district name), Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Washington (not current), Wisconsin (withholds district name), Wyoming (incomplete). Of these states, we consider Ohio and Wisconsin to be exemplary in the manner of presentation (i.e., databases that allow users to search reports by issue, date, district). Oregon also provides a user-friendly listing of complaints. Other states are encouraged to present state complaint decisions online in a user-friendly and timely manner.

In states that do not post complaint investigation reports, use your state's freedom of information law to submit requests to the state dept. of education. More information on FOIA, including sample letters, is available here.

 

Below are state complaints related to COVID-19

(See also: IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution in COVID-19 Environment Q&A Document)

CONTINGENCY/CONTINUOUS LEARNING PLANS (School building closure due to COVID-19)

  • Kansas (LEA redacted) (Failure to include parent in development of CLP; failure to provide PWN)
    SEA report

EDUCATIONAL RECORDS

  • Kansas (LEA redacted) Failure to respond to parent request for ed records
    SEA report
  • Mountain BOCES (CO) Failure to provide parent with access to student education records within 45 days of request
    SEA report

INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAMS (IEPs)

  • Brookings School District (SD) (Failure to implement IEP during school closure)
    SEA Report
  • El Paso County School District 11 (CO) (Failure to implement IEP including related services during school closure)
    SEA Report
  • Bakersfield City School District (CA) (Failure to implement IEPs of all students during school closure)
    Complaint :: SEA report - Systemic complaint filed by Disability Rights California :: Podcast (29 mins)
  • Braintree Public Schools (MA) Requiring parents to "excuse the District from strict performance of IEP timelines" in virtual IEP meetings -
    Filed by SPEDWATCH
    SEA Report
  • Beech Grove City Schools (IN) (Failure to implement IEP during school closure)
    SEA Report
  • Eastern Howard School Corporation (IN) (Failure to implement IEP during remote learning; failure to revise IEP)
    SEA Report
  • Porter Township School Corp (IN) (Failure to implement IEP during school closure)
    SEA Report
  • Wisconsin (LEA redacted)(Failure to implement IEP during school closure)
    SEA Report
  • Savannah Public Schools (GA) (Failure to provide special education to all students during school closure)
    Systemic complaint filed by Sullivan Law Firm
    Complaint :: SEA Report :: Complaint Timeline :: Press Release :: News Story
  • St. Louis Park (MN) (Failure to provide special educatin during school closure; failure to provide PWN; failure to conduct evaluation)
    SEA report
  • Bellevue (WA) (Failure to implement IEP during school closure)
    NOTE: This is one of 26 complaints filed between June and August alleging various WA districts failed to implement student IEPs during the March 2020 through June 2020 school facility closures. The corrective action in this report is similar to that ordered in the majority of these complaints.
    SEA Report
  • Albuquerque (NM)(Failure to implement IEP during school closure)
    Systemic complaint filed on behalf of all students with IEPs attending eCademy K-8 magnet school.
    Complaint :: SEA report
  • Bloomfield (NM)(Failure to implement IEP during school closure, hold IEP mtg to discuss recovery services)
    Systemic complaint filed on behalf of all students with IEPs :: Filed by Native American Disability Law Center
    Complaint :: SEA report :: Podcast about the complaint (36 mins)
  • Clark County School District (NV)(Failure to implement transtion services during school closure)
    SEA report
  • York County (ME)(Failure to provide FAPE to all eligible students)
    Systemic complaint filed by Disability Rights Maine
    SEA report :: News story
  • Columbus City School District (OH) (Failure to provide amended IEPs)
    SEA Report
  • Denver Public Schools (CO) (Failure to implement IEP, provide PWN, determine placement)
    SEA Report :: News story
  • Tippecanoe School Corporation (IN) (Failure to provide accommodation re mask wearing info to substitute teacher)
    SEA Report
  • Charles County Public Schools (MD)(Failure to provide services in IEP)
    SEA Report

EVALUATIONS

  • Nashoba Valley Regional School District (MA) (District paused all required procedures regarding Initial Evaluations for Special Education during the statewide closures due to COVID-19)
    SEA Report - Filed by SPEDWATCH
  • Chicago Public Schools (IL) (Failure to evaluate students and complete triennial evaluations for students in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center) Systemic complaint filed by Legal Aid Chicago & Equip for Equity
    SEA Report -:: News article

FACE COVERING/MASKING

  • Multiple Districts and Area Education Agencies (IA) Multiple families filed a state complaint alleging the enforcement of the prohibition on implementing a local face covering requirement by districts contained in House File 847 violated federal law, including the IDEA.
    SEA Report

TRANSPORTATION

  • Brookings School District (SD) (Failure to provide)
    SEA Report
  • Plymouth Public Schools (MA)(Failure to provide transportation for ESY services)
    SEA Report - Filed by SPEDWATCH

ACCOMMODATIONS

  • Hillsborough County School District (FL)
    SEA Report
  • East Central BOCES (CO)
    SEA Report
  • Gary Community School Corporation (IN) (Failure to provide accommodations per IEP)
    SEA Report (098-2015)
  • Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School (IN)(Failure to provide accommodation per IEP)
    SEA Report (087-2015)
  • Norfolk City Public Schools (VA) (Failure to provide accommodations per IEP)
    SEA Report

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

  • Toledo City Schools (OH) (Provision of AT as specified in IEP)
    SEA Report

BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION PLANS (BIPs)

CHANGE OF PLACEMENT

  • Norfolk City Public Schools (VA)
    SEA Report
  • Harrison 2 (CO) Filed by 4 parents of students with autism
    SEA Report (Remedies include reimbursement to parents)
  • Washington Township (IN)(Failure to return student to prior placement following manifestation determination)
    SEA Report

CHANGE OF SCHOOLS (Failure of receiving school to implement IEP in timely manner)

CHARTER SCHOOLS

  • Delawar charter school (unnamed) (Change of placement; failure to address behavioral needs in IEP)
    SEA Report
  • Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PA) (failure to comply with IDEA Child Find requirements)
    SEA Report
  • Lebanon School District (NH) (failure to provide special education services to students in the Ledyard Charter School)
    Complaint #1 :: SEA Response
    Complaint #2 :: SEA Response
  • Gateway Lab School (charter) (DE) (failure to provide FAPE)
    SEA Report
  • Pencader Business and Finance High Charter (DE) (failure to comply with IDEA Child Find requirements)
    SEA Report
  • Baltimore City Public Schools (MD)(transportation)
    SEA Report
  • Adams 12 Five Star Schools (CO) (failure to comply with IDEA Child Find requirements)
    SEA Report
  • Medford (OR) (failure to comply with IDEA Child Find requirements, use of RTI to delay eval)
    SEA Report
  • Phalen Leadership Academy (IN)(Failure to respond to parent request for re-evaluation)
    SEA Report
  • 21st Century Charter School at Gary (IN)(Failure to have Child Find policies and procedures)
    SEA Report
  • Success Academy Charter Schools, New York City (NY)(Filed by Advocates for Children of New York)
    (Failure to implement IEPs, change of placement violations, other)
    Complaint :: SEA Report

CHILD FIND VIOLATIONS

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES PLACED IN DISTRICT-RUN, STATE-RUN OR PRIVATE FACILITIES

CONTINGENCY/CONTINUOUS LEARNING PLANS (School building closure due to COVID-19)

  • Kansas (LEA redacted)(Failure to include parent in development of CLP; failure to provide PWN)
    SEA report

DISCIPLINE (see also Manifestation Determination)

  • Columbus City School District (OH)
    SEA Report
  • Prince George's County Public Schools (MD)(improper use of disciplinary procedures)
    SEA Report
  • Wisconsin (LEA redacted) (failure to provide educational services during expulsion)
    SEA Report

EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT

EDUCATIONAL RECORDS

  • Christina School District (DE) (Confidentiality)
    SEA Report  
  • Sanford School Department (ME) (Parent access)
    SEA Report
  • Sanford School Department (ME) (Consideration of parent-initiated evaluations or written statements of parent concerns)
    SEA Report
  • Kansas (LEA redacted) Failure to respond to parent request for ed records
    SEA report
  • Mountain BOCES (CO) Failure to provide parent with access to student education records within 45 days of request during school closure due to COVID-19
    SEA report

ELIGIBILITY

  • Franklin County School District (FL)(timeliness of eligibility meetings/failure to provide qualified professionals at eligibility meetings)
    Filed on behalf of seven students
    SEA Report

EVALUATIONS

EQUITABLE SERVICES

(For information in equitable services, see USED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON SERVING
CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES PLACED BY THEIR PARENTS IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Revised Feb 2022)

District of Columbia Public Schools (failure to provide speech/language services in accordance with individual service plans)
(Complaint filed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington)
Complaint :: SEA Report

EXTENDED SCHOOL YEAR SERVICES (ESY)

  • Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD)
    SEA Report
  • Howard County Public Schools (MD)
    SEA Report
  • Stamford Public Schools (CT) (Complaint filed by surrogate parent)
    SEA Report

FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION (FAPE)

FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT (FBA)

INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL EVALUATIONS (IEEs)

  • Hartford Public Schools (CT) (Filed by Surrogate)
    Complaint :: SEA Report
  • Hillsborough County School District (FL)
    SEA Report
  • Douglas County School District (CO) (Failure to provide IEE requested by parent)
    SEA Report
  • Wayne Local Schools (OH)
    SEA Report
  • Loudoun County Public Schools (VA)(Systemic complaint regarding fee cap and other IEE issues)
    SEA Report

INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAMS (IEPs)

  • Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (MI) (failure to include baseline data, provide goals/objectives/teacher input)(Filed by advocate)
    SEA Report :: SEA Report
  • Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (MI)(failure to include goals)(Filed by advocate)
    SEA Report
  • Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (MI)(failure to include baseline data)(Filed by advocate)
    SEA Report
  • South Redford School District (MI)(failure to revise annual/goals not measurable)
    SEA Report
  • Hillsborough County School District (FL)(failure to provide accommodations and S/L therapy)
    SEA Report
  • Clarinda Academy (IA)(Filed by Disability Rights IOWA)
    Complaint :: SEA Report
  • Iowa Juvenile Home and Girls State Training School (IA)(Filed by Disability Rights IOWA)
    Complaint :: SEA Report
  • Tulsa Public Schools (OK) (failure to provide individualized IEP goals) (News story)
    Complaint :: SEA Report
  • Douglas County School District (CO)(Failure to provide reading instruction per IEP)
    SEA Report
  • Brookings School District (SD) (Failure to implement IEP during school closure due to COVID-19)
    SEA Report
  • El Paso County School District 11 (CO) (Failure to implement IEP including related services during school closure)
    SEA report
  • Bakersfield City School District (CA) (Failure to implement IEPs of all students during school closure)
    SEA report - Systemic complaint filed by Disability Rights California
  • WA (District Redacted) (Failure to provide special ed and related services per IEPS
    Systemic complaint on behalf of all students w/ IEPs in a school
    SEA report
  • Echo Glen School (WA) (Failure to provide special education to students with IEPs in juvenile rehabilitation center)
    Systemic complaint
    SEA report

LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT

  • Union Township School Corporation (IN)(Failure to provide class in the LRE per IEP)
    SEA Report (099-2015)

MANIFESTATION DETERMINATION

MEDIATION AGREEMENT (Failure to comply with mediation agreement)

OBSERVATIONS

PARAEDUCATORS (or paraprofessionals)

PARENTAL PARTICIPATION (Issues involving predeterminations, depriving students from identification/eligibility or individually designed appropriate services/supports,
IEP changes outside of meetings, deprivation of meaningful parental participation)

  • Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD) (failure to provide completed IEP in required timeframe)
    SEA Report
  • Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (MI)(failure to provide alternative means of participation)(Filed by advocate)
    SEA Report
  • Glastonbury Public Schools (CT)(Failure to allow parents to observe proposed private schools)(Filed by Attorney Jennifer Laviano)
    Complaint :: SEA Report
  • Houston Independent School District (TX) (failure to provide parents with translation of IEP)(Filed by Disability Rights Texas)
    Complaint :: SEA Report
  • Toledo City Schools (OH) (Provision of AT as specified in IEP)
    SEA Report

PROGRESS REPORTS

  • Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD)
    SEA Report
  • Southwest Licking Local Schools (OH)
    SEA Report
  • Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (MI)(Filed by advocate)
    SEA Report
  • Gary Community School Corporation (IN) (Failure to provide progress reports to parents)
    SEA Report (098-2015)

PROVIDING SPECIAL ED SERVICES TO NON-IDEA ELIGIBLE STUDENTS

RELATED SERVICES

RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RTI) (Also called Multi-tier Systems of Support or MTSS)

RESTRAINT/SECLUSION

  • Milwaukee Public Schools (WI) (Use of restraint)
    SEA Report
  • Newhall Elementary School District (CA) (Use of restraint on children with disabilities) (Filed by DisabilityRightsCalifornia)
    SEA Report
  • Boulder Valley School District (CO)(Complaint brought under state's Protection of Individuals from Restraint and Seclusion Act)
    SEA Report
  • Peninsula (WA)(Use of restraint and isloation in violation of state law)
    SEA Report

SPECIAL FACTORS (Assistive technology, communication; behavior)

  • Montana (district redacted)
    SEA Report
  • Norfolk City Public Schools (VA)(failure to address AT needs following AT eval)
    SEA Report
  • Adams-Arapahoe School District 28J (CO)(failure to address communications needs of Deaf student)
    SEA Report
  • Northwest Allen County Schools (IN)(failure to provide student with interpreting services as specified in IEP)
    SEA Report

TRANSPORTATION

  • Baltimore City Public Schools (MD)(Charter school)
    SEA Report
  • Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (MI)(Filed by advocate)
    SEA Report
  • East Central BOCES (CO)
    SEA Report
  • RSU #73 (ME)((Filed by Disability Rights Center)(Abbreviated school day for special ed students due to transportation issues)
    SEA Report
  • Brookings School District (SD) (Failure to provide)
    SEA Report

TRANSITION PLANNING

  • Montana (district redacted)
    SEA Report
  • South Redford School District (MI)(failure to develop transition plan)
    SEA Report