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 below.
TEA offers mediation to parties who have a disagreement involving the educational program for a student with a disability. Mediation is voluntary, meaning that both parties must agree to participate in mediation. TEA provides information about mediation each time it receives a special education complaint or a due process hearing request, but parents and local educational agencies (LEAs) may request mediation at any time. For more information about mediation, see 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 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.
Where Should You Send Your Complaint?
You must be 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
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 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 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  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.
TEA cannot use the special education complaints to
address concerns related to:
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 cannot use the special education complaints to address concerns related to:
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.
Finally, TEA cannot 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.
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 in order for TEA
to investigate your special education complaint.
- Ensure that you
student's name, contact information, and name of the school the student
name, address, and contact information;
information as to when, where, and how the alleged violation took place;
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).
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 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. 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 Special Education:
Fax (512) 463-9560
For questions related to mediations or due
process hearings, please contact TEA's Office of Legal Services:
Fax (512) 475-3662.
Related to Special Education Dispute Resolution
Individualized Education Program Facilitation (FIEP) serves as a means of preventing disputes related to special education programs and services, and serves as an alternative dispute resolution process for issues related to special education.
The Special Education Dispute Resolution Systems Handbook provides additional information about the FIEP process, the mediation process, the special education complaints process, and due process hearings.
The Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special
Education (CADRE) is a national technical assistance center for dispute
Q&A on Procedural Safeguards and Due Process Procedures provides guidance related to special education dispute resolution.
For Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing:
Relay Texas 7-1-1