Easiest Option: Be Proactive to Avoid Misunderstandings
Review Navigate Your School to make sure you approach all of your interactions with the school in a way that ensures clear communication, creates an opportunity to collaborate with educators, and minimizes the chance of misunderstandings. The steps in Navigate Your School also ensure you will be able to protect your child’s educational rights if you need to pursue a more formal means of resolving a disagreement.
Below are disagreement options available to all students, those served by an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and a 504 plan, as well as links to learn more.
Parents can engage an educational advocate or an attorney with an education background to assess each situation, review documentation / testing, provide advice, attend meetings with parents, etc. Learn more on our Find an Advocate webpage.
HPISD Students and Parent Complaints / Grievances Policy - FNG (Legal) - FNG (Local) - FNG (Exhibit)
The HPISD Board of Trustees encourage students and parents to discuss concerts with teachers, principal or other campus administrator
Parents and Students express concerns as soon as possible
Complaint forms must be filed within 15 days of the date the student or parent first knew, or with reasonable diligence should have known, of the decision or action giving rise to the complaint
Students and parents may file written complaint, while still pursing informal resolution
Complaints can be withdrawn any time
Also from FNG (Local):
“All other evidence that the student or parent intends the administration to rely upon must be presented at the Level One conference. After the Level One conference, no new documents, evidence, or issues shall be considered.”
There are three levels that a complaint may process through; however, parents should anticipate that a complaint might not be heard by the Board of Trustees as a Level Three appeal because HPISD’s policy is more limited than many other districts.
HPISD: Board hearings only occur when when required by law: “ A Level Two hearing shall be the final hearing for all other matters.”
Other districts*: “If the student or parent did not receive the relief requested at Level Two or if the time for a response has expired, the student or parent may appeal the decision to the Board.” (*This is the process for student / parent grievances in the following school districts: Dallas, Richardson, Garland, Frisco, Plano, Southlake Carroll, Lovejoy, Conroe (Woodlands), Eanes (Westlake), Alamo Heights and many others)
Students Served by an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) via Special Education
10-Day Recess from an ARD meeting
Formally disagree at ARD meeting and request to reconvene in 10 days. During a recess, the members must consider alternatives, gather additional information, prepare further documentation, and/or obtain additional resource persons who may assist in enabling the ARD committee to reach mutual agreement. Read more here on p 15.
Texas Education Agency (TEA) Complaint
File within 1 year of alleged violation. Provides information and evidence of violation(s) of IDEA procedural safeguards and/or FAPE. The TEA’s written report is due in 60 calendar days and can require corrective actions from the school / district. Possible outcomes include corrective action for an individual student and/or systemic corrective actions.
Parent and school voluntarily sign a request form and file within 5 calendar days of the ARD meeting that ended in disagreement. TEA provides a trained facilitator, and the ARD committee still has decision-making power.
Parents and/or district can request, but it is voluntary so both must agree. Can request at any time. If resolution is reached, an enforceable agreement is signed.
A special education due process hearing is a formal legal process similar to going to trial in a court. Must file within 1 year of alleged violation. A district or parent may request a due process hearing when a parent and the district do not agree about the identification, evaluation, educational placement or services of a student with a disability or when the parties disagree on the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to the student.
Students Served by a 504 Plan
Office of Civil Rights (OCR) discrimination complaint
Must file within 6 months of alleged violation.
Dallas Office Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 1620 Dallas, Texas 75201-6810
214-661-9600 , OCR.Dallas@ed.gov
Links to Learn More
Legal Options for Parents When an ARD Meeting Wasn’t Enough
Colleen Elbe of Disability Rights Texas discussed options for dispute resolution including the benefits and drawbacks of each option. (Recording, Powerpoint)
Dispute Resolution Process by Texas Project First
What if Things Aren’t Right? Can I Do Anything About It? Let’s face it…even in the best of circumstances, sometimes things don’t go as they should…or as you think they should. This resource walks parents through local and state-level resolution options, plus additional resources as well.