Special Education Complaints Process

Para leer esta página en español, haga clic aquí.

 

To understand the steps that TEA takes for ensuring effective communication with non-English speakers during the special education complaints investigation process, click here.

How to File a Special Education Complaint

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 below 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.

Submitting Your Special Education Complaint

You must hand deliver, mail, or fax your complaint to:

Texas Education Agency
Division of Special Education
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701-1494
Fax (512) 463-9560

Special Education Complaint Investigation Forms

You may complete the Word version of the complaint form offline, print, sign, and send it to the public agency and to TEA. The boxes on the form will expand as you type. The PDF version of the form allows you to download, print, and complete the complaint form by hand.  Once completed, you must sign the complaint and send it to the public agency and to TEA. You may attach additional pages if needed.

A checklist is available to ensure that you submit all required information in order for TEA to investigate your special education complaint.

Note: You may request a complaint investigation and mediation at the same time.  However, 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 (English)

Additional allegations (Spanish)

Instructions for Completing the Special Education 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 number, and the name of the school that the student attends or attended. The name of the student's current school district and the student's date of birth are optional but assist with 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 [2] of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act [42 U.S.C. 11434a(2)]), you must 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 a student or students. The complainant must provide his/her complete name and contact information. The requested optional information is useful for determining whether TEA may disclose the student's education records 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 that TEA receives the complaint. 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 relevant to the allegation. The complaint should also describe what documents would be helpful for TEA to review. Finally, the complaint must include a proposal for resolution of the allegation or to the problem.

Section Four: Signature

You, as the complainant, must sign the request for complaint investigation.

Section Five: Notification for Complaint Investigation

You, as the complainant, must send a copy of the complaint to the public agency against which you are filing the complaint. In section Five, indicate to whom at the public agency you sent the copy of the complaint. Also indicate when you sent a copy of the complaint to the public agency.

Special Education Complaint Checklist

Complete the following actions for TEA to investigate your special education complaint.

  • Ensure that you have provided:
    • the student's name, contact information, and name of the school the student attends;
    • your name, address, and contact information;
    • detailed information as to when, where, and how the alleged violation took place; and
    • a proposed solution to the problem.
  • Ensure that you have signed your complaint.
  • Ensure that you have provided a copy of your complaint to the public agency against which you are filing the complaint.
  • Ensure that you have submitted your complaint (hand delivered, mail, or fax) in time for TEA to receive it no later than one year from the date of the alleged violations(s).

Issues that TEA May Not Investigate Through the Special Education Complaints Process

TEA may not use the special education complaints process to investigate allegations of abuse and/or neglect of students. You may address allegations of abuse or neglect to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at (800) 252-5400.  If you need to report a child-related emergency, please call 911 in order to do so.

TEA also may not use the special education complaints process to address concerns related to:

·        personnel issues or assignments,

·        teaching/instructional methodology,

·        parental access to the campus, or

·        other local matters of concern.

You may address these types of issues to campus or district-level administration and/or through the district's local grievance process.

Additionally, TEA may not use the special education complaints process to address concerns related to:

·        discrimination,

·        harassment,

·        retaliation, or

·        Section 504 determinations or services.

You may address these types of issues to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights at (214) 661-9600.

Release of Information

Anyone may file a special education complaint on a behalf of a minor or adult student.  However, if the complainant is not the parent/guardian of the minor student subject to the complaint or does not have guardianship over the adult student subject to the complaint, TEA may not release personally identifiable information to the complainant without signed consent from the parent of the minor student or from the adult student to do so.  Unless TEA receives signed consent, it will not be able to release an investigative report or any other information about the student to the complainant.

Questions

For questions related to special education complaints, please contact the Division of Special Education at (512) 463-9414.

For Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, please contact the Division of Special Education using Relay Texas (7-1-1).

Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook 

TEA’s Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook explains how the agency processes special education complaints. 

The English version of the Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook may be found by clicking here: Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook.   

The Spanish version of the Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook may be found by clicking here: AGENCIA DE EDUCACIÓN DE TEXAS MANUAL DE LOS SISTEMAS PARA RESOLUCIÓN DE CONFLICTOS DE EDUCACIÓN ESPECIAL.

The agency can translate and provide copies of the Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook and this policy in other languages as needed.