Understanding the
IEP Complaint Procedure

The complaint procedure is used to investigate a claim made against a school district for not complying with the law. Each school district should have their formalized procedure posted in a public place and it is usually located on their web site. If you believe a district has violated a legal duty or has not followed the requirements of IDEA, you should use this procedure to file a formal grievance. This is different than due process which is used to challenge factual components of an IEP.   


Grievances should be filed within a year of the incident. Your district may have a specific form, you may write your own letter or use a form provided by your County or State Board of Education.

The incident report should include your name, phone number, address, child’s name, school and district. You should offer a short description of the concern, the violation that occurred, any dates and times, the section of IDEA that was violated and the remedy you are seeking.

Within 60 days, the State must issue a decision. Often, the district will try to resolve the issue before it reaches the County or State level.

If your issue involves a disagreement regarding IEP services, you should not file a complaint. In this situation, the mediation process should be utilized instead of the complaint procedure.

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