Special Education Complaints Process

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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

Special education complaints must be filed in writing and must be signed. 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.    

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 education agency against which you are filing the complaint.

A video that explains how to file a special education complaint can be found at https://www.spedtex.org/index.cfm/covid-19-family-videos/covid-19-family-video-complaints-process/.

Submitting Your Special Education Complaint

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, TEA cannot accept hand delivery of special education complaints or reconsideration requests.

You must email, mail, or fax your complaint to:

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

SpecialEducation@tea.texas.gov

 

Please note that any special education complaint or reconsideration request sent to any another agency email address will not be considered received and will not trigger a special education complaint investigation or a reconsideration response. This purpose of this email filing requirement is to prevent a special education complaint or reconsideration request from being overlooked or lost.

Special Education Complaint Investigation Forms

The model special education complaint form is below.  You are not required to use the model special education complaint form.

Once completed, you must sign the complaint and send it to the public education agency against which you are filing the complaint and to TEA.  Special education complaints cannot be filed anonymously. 

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.

Special Education Complaint Investigation Form

Link to Online Form

NOTE: If you are using the online form to file a complaint against a school district or charter school on behalf of multiple students, the system will not automatically send your complaint to the school district or charter school.  If you submit a multiple-student complaint using the online form, the completed complaint form will be emailed only to you and to TEA.  You must then email your complaint to the school district or charter school.

Also, if you are using the online form to file a complaint and are not finding the campus in the drop-down menu, please try variations of the campus’ spelling such as H S instead of high school.

 

Instructions for Completing the Special Education Complaint Investigation Form

There are five sections to the special education complaint model 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 or charter school 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 calendar 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 education agency against which you are filing the complaint. In section Five, indicate to whom at the public education agency you sent the copy of the complaint. Also indicate when you sent a copy of the complaint to the public education 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 (if the complaint is filed on behalf of a single student);
    • 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 education agency against which you are filing the complaint.
  • Ensure that you have submitted your complaint (by email, mail, or fax) in time for TEA to receive it no later than one calendar year from the date of the alleged violations(s).

Issues that TEA Cannot 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 an emergency, please call 911 in order to do so.

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

  • personnel issues or assignments,
  • teaching/instructional methodology,
  • parents’ 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 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

Any organization or individual 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/guardian 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 Office of Special Populations and Monitoring at (512) 463-9414.

 

For Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, please contact the Office of Special Populations and Monitoring 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 Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook is available in English by clicking here: Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook.   

 

El Manual de resolución de disputas de educación especial está disponible en español haciendo clic aquí: AGENCIA DE EDUCACIÓN DE TEXAS MANUAL DE LOS SISTEMAS PARA RESOLUCIÓN DE CONFLICTOS DE EDUCACIÓN ESPECIAL.

 

Dān jī cǐ chù, kěyǐ zhǎodào zhōngwén de “tèshū jiàoyù jiūfēn jiějué shǒucè”:

 

Sổ tay Giải quyết Tranh chấp Giáo dục Đặc biệt có sẵn bằng tiếng Việt bằng cách bấm vào đây:

 

dalil hali nizaeat altaelim alkhasi matah biallughat alearabiat bialdaght hna:

 

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