When the district appears to have violated a part of special education law or procedure, a parent, individual, public district or organization can file a complaint with the California State Department of Education (CDE). Examples of violations include:
- failure to implement an individualized education program (IEP);
- failure to assess or refer a student to special education;
- failure to follow timelines for assessment and referral;
- failure to inform parents of an IEP meeting; or
- failure to implement a due process hearing decision or mediation agreement.
An investigator from the CDE investigates the allegations and makes a written determination of whether the district was “out of compliance” with law or with the student’s IEP. If a district is found “out of compliance,” the district should be ordered to come back into compliance. In addition, the CDE may order the district to submit a “corrective action plan” — a document describing the steps the district has taken, or will take, to assure that the problem does not occur again, as well as the timelines for taking those steps. CDE must approve or modify the plan.