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(6.39) Are there opportunities to resolve my complaint before an actual hearing?

(6.39) Are there opportunities to resolve my complaint before an actual hearing?

Yes. If you file a due process request, the district must offer you the opportunity to participate in a pre-hearing “resolution session”. However, both sides may waive the resolution session in writing. If the districtfiles for due process, there is no resolution session required, but mediation is available regardless of who files for due process. [20 U.S.C. Sec.

1415(f)(1)(B); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.510; Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56501.5.]

The resolution session is attended by you and a district representative who has authority to resolve the problem. Attorneys for the district may not attend unless you are represented by an attorney. At the session, you must be able to discuss the basis for your complaint and the district is given an opportunity to resolve it. All discussions which take place during the resolution session are not confidential and can be disclosed in a subsequent hearing or court case. However, it is good practice for both sides to agree to confidentiality at the meeting.

If the session leads to an agreement, the agreement must be put into writing and signed by both sides. The agreement is legally binding on you and the district and can be enforced in court. Either you or the district has three days after signing the agreement to “void” or revoke your signature. 

[20 U.S.C. Secs. 1415(f)(1)(B)(iii) & (iv); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.510(d) & (e); Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56501.5(f) & (g).]

The resolution session must occur within 15 days of the district receiving the parent’s request for due process. It must be finished within 30 days of the district receiving the parent’s request. The days before the resolution session is finished do not count toward the total number of days the state has to complete the hearing process and issue a decision. 

[20 U.S.C. Sec. 1415(f)(1)(B)(i)(I) & (ii); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.510(a)(1) & (b)(2); Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56501.5(a)(1) & (c).]