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If you believe your school is not meeting it's legal obligations under the law, it may be time to seek the help of an advocate. A special education advocate is a non-attorney representative that can work with you in the following ways:​

  1. Get the services and accommodations your child needs at school;

  2. Write letters on your behalf;

  3. Support you through the IEP process;

  4. Review and explain evaluations and documents;

  5. Attend IEP meetings with you;

  6. Protect you and your child against misinformation;

  7. Develop comprehensive IEPs;

  8. Conduct school observations;

  9. Develop 504 Plans;

  10. Collaborate with professional personnel to meet the unique needs of each student;

  11. Provide information about school placement options; and

  12. Assist with Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIPs).

  13. File/Attend Mediation, State Complaints & Due Process

Palm Beach Education Solutions strives to resolve all disputes in a timely manner at the school level first. Our advocate has a wonderful working relationship with many schools across the district. If we are not successful in resolving your disputes, we will discuss other options that may include filing for mediation, state complaints, and/or due process. 




When parents and schools are unable to resolve their differences through the individualized educational plan (IEP) process, either party may request mediation. Mediation can help resolve differences before they become major barriers to parent/school relationships. A trained mediator helps the parties reach a mutually satisfactory and legally binding agreement that is in the best interest of the student. 


Mediation is voluntary for all parties, and discussions that occur during the mediation process are confidential and may not be used as evidence in subsequent legal proceedings. Mediation may not interfere with the right to a due process hearing or be used to delay due process timelines.


Here are a few examples of when mediation may be needed:

  1. resolve disagreements concerning identification, evaluation, educational placement, and or a free appropriate public education for a student.

  2. clarify issues causing the disagreement.

  3. provide those involved with uninterrupted opportunities to present their point of view.

  4. promote positive working relationships between parents and school personnel.



The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) maintains a state complaint procedure where parents and other interested parties may file a written complaint alleging that a public agency has violated state or federal laws regarding the education of students with disabilities or students who are gifted. State complaints may be filed by an individual, individuals or organization such as an advocacy firm.   

The 60-day timeline (or 90-day timeline for complaints limited to gifted education) specified for the inquiry process begins on the date the signed complaint, with all the required components, is received by the bureau within business hours. The complainant and the district are given the opportunity to submit information regarding the allegations.

Following the bureau’s investigation, a Report of Inquiry is provided to all parties, which outlines the allegations, findings of fact, conclusions, corrective actions, and any required actions or recommendations.



Due process complaints (or hearing requests) are written documents used to request a hearing relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child with a disability. The complaint may be filed by a parent, advocate, or public agency such as the school. This starts a process that may lead to a formal hearing where a hearing officer decides the outcome. 

A hearing is a more formal process than other dispute resolution options. It is conducted by a hearing officer who considers the information provided by each side, may ask questions of witnesses, and makes a decision about the dispute. The hearing officer is neutral and knowledgeable about the IDEA. 

The problems listed in your due process complaint must have occurred no more than 2 years before you file the complaint, or from the date you should have known that the problem happened. 

Here are a few examples of when filing for a Due Process Hearing may be needed:

  1. You disagree with the results of your child's evaluation regarding their eligibility for special education and related services. 

  2. You believe your child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP), as developed by the school's IEP team, does not meet the special education needs of your child. 

  3. You believe the school is not providing the services in your child's IEP.

  4. You disagree with the school district's placement decision for your child.

  5. You are not able to resolve disputes after multiple attempts of resolution. 

A parent does not need an attorney to file a due process complaint. Because of the legal nature of due process proceedings, parents may choose to hire an attorney. PBES is not a practicing attorney although we do have extensive knowledge and background in education law.

Most due process complaints are resolved without the need for a hearing. If your case is not resolved during the Resolution Session, which must take place within 15 days of the district receiving your complaint, your case will be referred to our partner attorney who can represent you in court. School districts are typically always represented by attorneys. 

The following timeline applies to a due process hearing:

  • A parent or adult child must file within 2 years of when the disagreement happened.

  • Once the due process hearing request is sent to the school and the Department of Education, the school has 10 days to respond to the issues that are raised in the request.

  • If the school does not think that the request has all of the information that is required, they have 15 days to let the hearing officer know that they believe the request is defective.

  • The hearing officer then has 5 days to determine if the complaint meets all of the requirements. If there is not enough information, the school can agree to let the parent add more information of the hearing officer can allow more information to be included. This needs to be done at least 5 calendar days before the hearing is scheduled.

  • The school must schedule a dispute resolution session within 15 calendar days of receiving the due process hearing request.

  • If a resolution is reached, the school has 30 calendar days implement those changes.

  • If the resolution session is not successful, the pre-hearing conference and hearing will be held within 30 calendar days.

  • At least 5 days before the hearing, both sides must give all evaluations to the other including any recommendations provided. If this is not done it cannot be used at the hearing!

  • Once the hearing is over, the hearing officer has 15 calendar days to give their written decision.

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