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Special Education Complaint (511 IAC 7-45-1)

What is a complaint?

  • A complaint is a formal investigation process that starts with a written claim alleging the public agency:
    • Has not implemented federal or state special education rules; or
    • Has failed to comply with a mediation agreement, an agreement reached during a resolution meeting, or an order issued by an independent hearing officer (IHO).
  • The assigned complaint investigator will speak to the parties to learn more about the issues in the complaint, and in some instances may visit the school to obtain additional information.
  • The parent(s) and the public agency have the opportunity to submit documents to the complaint investigator related to the allegations.
  • The complaint investigator reviews all of the information and submitted documentation and issues a complaint investigation report, which may include corrective action if the public agency is found to be noncompliant with state special education rules.

What issues can a complaint investigation address?

  • A complaint investigation may address any alleged violation of federal or state laws that apply to special education programs.

Who may file a complaint?

  • A complaint may be filed by: the parent(s); any individual; group of individuals; agency; or organization.

What must be included in a complaint?

  • The student's name and address;
  • The name of the school corporation or charter school, and school the student attends;
  • A statement that the school is not following one or more requirements of Article 7 or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA);
  • Any facts supporting the allegations;
  • A proposed resolution (if the person filing the complaint has a recommendation);
  • Contact information for the person filing the complaint; and
  • A signature of the complainant.

How can I file a complaint?

  • To file a complaint electronically, please use I-CHAMP.
  • A written request for a complaint can also be printed, completed with a handwritten signature and submitted to IDOE and the public agency serving the student via mail, fax, or in person. If not using the special education complaint form, the written request for a complaint should include similar components to the form. Click here for a sample complaint request.

Who must receive a copy of a complaint request?

  • The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE); and
  • The public agency serving the student.
  • A copy may be submitted electronically using I-CHAMP, in person, by mail, or via fax. A complaint cannot be filed with IDOE through electronic mail.

What is the deadline for filing a complaint?

  • A complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged violation.

How long does a complaint investigation take?

  • A written complaint report will be issued by IDOE within 40 calendar days of receiving the complaint, unless an extension has been granted.
  • Either the complainant or the public agency can request reconsideration by the Director of the Office of Special Education within 10 days of the report being issued. If reconsideration is requested, the Director’s final decision shall be made within 60 days of the date the original complaint request was received by IDOE.

What happens if a violation is found?

  • Corrective action may be ordered.
  • The date by which the public agency must complete the corrective action will be included in the report.
  • The complaint investigator will monitor the public agency’s compliance with the ordered corrective action and ensure all corrective action is completed within one year of the issuance of the report.

Where are prior complaint investigation reports located?

  • Reports are available electronically on I-CHAMP and may be searched by school corporation, special education planning district, topic, or year.