WHAT IS AN IMPARTIAL HEARING?
An Impartial Hearing or Due Process Hearing can be filed by a parent who has a disagreement about his or her child's evaluations, IEP, services, or placement that cannot be resolved through other means. After a due process complaint is filed, the district will appoint an independent hearing officer, who will review evidence and listen to witnesses testify. At the end of the hearing, the hearing officer issues a written decision.
Many parents do not realize the extent of their rights and the types of reimbursements, services and supports that are available under the law and through a hearing.
A parent who files a hearing is entitled to assert her child's right to pendency placement (also called "stay-put"). Once a hearing is filed, the district has to provide or fund the services and placement that the child was receiving at the time the hearing was filed and cannot change it until the hearing is over.
Most parents do not realize that they do not have to be wealthy to be able to afford a lawyer to help with special education problems.
The law gives parents the right to have the school district pay for their attorney's fees if a parent wins a hearing or court case against the district. There are private and public firms, like ours, that offer no-cost up front, free and even pro bono legal services to families. Feel free to contact our office for advice and referral.