The Texas Education Agency (TEA) offers three
formal processes for resolving disputes related to special education:
mediation, special education complaints, and due process hearings.
Information for these three processes is presented below.
TEA is required by state and federal law to offer mediation to parties who have a disagreement involving the educational program for a student with a disability. Mediation is completely voluntary, meaning that both parties must agree to participate in mediation. TEA automatically offers mediation each time a special education complaint or due process hearing request is filed, but mediation may be requested at any time. For information on how to request mediation go to the Office of Legal Services, Special Education Mediation Program.
If you believe a public agency, including TEA, has violated federal or state requirements related to special education, you may file a complaint with TEA.
How to File a Complaint?
In order for TEA to conduct an investigation, you must write and sign your complaint. The complaint must include the violations you believe have occurred and the facts to support the violations. A complaint form is available in English and Spanish for your use. You do not have to use this form to file a complaint. You must hand deliver, mail, or fax the complaint to TEA. TEA cannot accept special education
complaints by email.
In addition, whether you use the complaint form or write your own letter, the law requires you to send a copy of your complaint to the public agency against which you are filing the complaint.
Where Should You Send Your Complaint?
Complaints must be hand delivered, mailed, or faxed to:
Texas Education Agency
Division of Federal and State Education Policy
1701 North Congress
Austin, Texas 78701-1494
Fax (512) 463-9560
Complaint Investigation Forms
Word version of the form has been designed for you to complete offline, print,
sign, and send to the public agency and to TEA. The boxes on the form will
expand as you type. The PDF version of the form has been designed for you to
download, print, complete by hand, sign, and send to the public agency and to
TEA. You may attach additional pages if needed.
A checklist has been developed to ensure
you submit all required information in order for TEA to investigate your
special education complaint.
Note: A complaint investigation and mediation
can be requested at the same time. If you request a complaint investigation and
a due process hearing on the same issues, your complaint investigation request
will remain on hold until the due process hearing has ended.
Complaint Investigation Form – English (Word)
Complaint Investigation Form – Spanish (Word)
Complaint Investigation Form – English (PDF)
Complaint Investigation Form – Spanish (PDF)
additional allegations (Spanish)
Instructions for the Complaint Investigation Form
There are five sections to the complaint form:
Section One: Student Information
If you are requesting a complaint investigation for one student, you must complete the "Student Information" section. Provide the student's complete name, mailing address, phone numbers, and the name of the school where the student attends or attended school. The name of the student's school district and the student's date of birth are optional, but are requested for identification purposes. If you are requesting a complaint investigation for more than one student, skip the "Student Information" section and complete the rest of the form.
In the case of a homeless child or youth (within the meaning of section 752  of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act [42 U.S.C. 11434a(2)]), provide all available contact information for the student and the name of the school the student is attending.
Section Two: Complainant Information
The complainant is the individual or
organization filing the complaint. The complainant may file as a third party on
behalf of students. The complainant must provide his/her complete name and
contact information. The requested optional information is useful for
determining whether the student's educational information may be disclosed to
the complainant under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Section Three: Complaint Information
The complaint must allege a special education
violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), its
implementing regulations, and/or special education requirements in the Texas
Education Code (TEC) or Texas Administrative Code (TAC). The violation must
have occurred not more than one year prior to the date the complaint is
received at the TEA. The complainant must describe, in detail, each act that is
an alleged violation of special education requirements in the IDEA, TEC, and/or
TAC, including when the act occurred and any other events that are relevant to
the allegation. For a complaint investigation, the complainant should describe
what documents would be helpful for TEA to review. Finally, you must provide a
proposal for resolution of the allegation or to the problem.
Please note that the special education complaints process cannot
address concerns related to:
issues or assignments,
- teaching/instructional methodology,
- parental access to the campus, or
- other local matters of concern.
These types of issues may be addressed to campus or district-level
administration and/or through the district's local grievance process.
Additionally, please note that the special education complaints
process also cannot address concerns related to:
504 determination or services.
These types of issues may be addressed to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights,
which can be reached at (214) 661-9600.
Finally, the special education complaints process cannot address
concerns related to abuse and/or neglect of students. Issues related to abuse
or neglect of students must be addressed to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at (800) 252-5400.
Section Four: Signature
By federal regulation, the complainant must sign
the request for complaint investigation.
Section Five: Notification for Complaint Investigation
By federal regulation, the complainant must send
a copy of the request for complaint investigation to the public agency against
which the complaint is filed. Indicate to whom in the public agency the copy of
the complaint letter was sent and when the complaint letter was sent.
Special Education Complaint Checklist
Complete the following actions in order for TEA
to investigate your special education complaint.
student's name, contact information, and name of the school the student
name, address, and contact information where you can be reached
information as to when, where, and how the alleged violation took place;
proposed solution to the problem.
have signed your complaint.
have provided a copy of your complaint to the public agency against which
the complaint is filed.
have submitted your complaint (hand delivered, mail, or fax) in time for
it to be received by the TEA no later than ONE YEAR after the last act or
event of which you are complaining.
Due Process Hearings
A special education due process hearing is a formal legal process similar to going to trial in a court. A district or parent may request a due process hearing when a parent or 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. For information on how to request a due process hearing, go to the Office of Legal Services, Special Education Due Process Hearing Program.
Technical Assistance for
the Dispute Resolution Processes
For questions related to special
education complaints, please contact the Division of Federal and State
Fax (512) 463-9560
For questions related to mediations or due
process hearings, please contact the Division of Legal Services:
Fax (512) 475-3662.
Related to Special Education Dispute ResolutionSpecial Education Dispute Resolution Systems Handbook
Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special
Education (CADRE) National Technical Assistance Center on Dispute
Q&A on Procedural Safeguards and Due Process Procedures Guidance
from the CADRE Website
For Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing:
TTY Number: (512) 475-3540
Relay Texas 7-1-1