June 22, 2023

What is an Impartial Hearing?

Have you ever disputed with your school district about your child's special education services? Are you a teacher or administrator tasked with making difficult decisions about students' educational plans? You might already be somewhat familiar with impartial hearings. Exploring the ins and outs of impartial hearings, including who can request one and what to expect from the process, can help you find a solution that meets your child's needs.

Overview of an Impartial Hearing

An impartial hearing is a legal process used in special education law to resolve disputes between parents and school districts. This type of hearing allows parents to present their case before an independent decision-maker, often called a hearing officer.

If you disagree with any decision made by the school district, such as program or placement, you can request an impartial hearing by filing a due process complaint notice with the school district.

After filing this notice, you will be required to participate in a mandatory mediation session to resolve any disputes without completing an impartial hearing. However, if mediation fails, an impartial hearing will occur and will be conducted by an unbiased third party with no affiliation or interest in either side's position.

What Happens if You Win an Impartial Hearing?

If you win an impartial hearing in special education, the school district will be ordered to provide a solution. Typically, the solution consists of compensatory services or some form of placement.

Compensatory services are designed to make up for lost educational opportunities due to past failures by the school district. For example, the impartial hearing officer may order money for tutoring, extended school year services, or other things that might help your child succeed academically and socially.

On the other hand, placement could be from a specialized educational facility or program, such as residential treatment for students with significant behavioral issues. Private schools are also an option if it is determined that the student cannot receive their appropriate services in public school settings.

A professional evaluation must be completed to determine if these types of remedies are necessary before initiating an impartial hearing request.

Contact our New York Special Education Attorneys

Sometimes, parents and school districts cannot agree on a proposed plan even after engaging in informal resolution sessions. In these cases, filing a due process complaint and pursuing a legal resolution through an impartial hearing may be necessary.

If you are considering filing a due process complaint or want to know more about what to expect during an impartial hearing process in New York, consider seeking the assistance of a special education attorney. The New York special education attorneys at Mizrahi Kroub LLP can help you navigate the legal process.

If you believe your child's education rights have been violated or need more information about filing a due process complaint, contact us today for a free consultation.

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