In most cases, you can file a compliance complaint directly with the CDE. The Department must directly intervene (that is, not refer the complaint to the local district for self-investigation) in any of the following situations:
- The student or group of students may be in immediate physical danger or that the “health, safety or welfare” of a student or group of students is threatened.
- A public agency, other than a school district, has failed to comply with an applicable law or regulation relating to the provision of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to individuals with disabilities. [Cal. Gov. Code Sec. 7570, commonly referred to as “AB 3632” or “Chapter 26.5.”]
- A district or public agency has failed to comply with the due process procedures established in federal and state law and regulations, or has failed or refused to implement a due process hearing order.
- A student with disabilities is not receiving the special education or related services specified in his IEP.
- A violation of federal law governing special education or its implementing regulations.
[5 C.C.R. Sec. 4650(a)(7).]
If the facts of your situation fit into any one or more of the five situations described above, you should specifically request that the CDE investigate your complaint directly. See Sample Letter – Compliance Complaint, Appendices Section – Appendix I. You should identify the situations outlined above that most resemble your situation. You should mention the specific situation in your complaint letter. Since numbers (1) through (5) cover most of the situations that can lead to filing a compliance complaint, you should be able to identify a subsection that fits your situation.
Outline the reasons for your request in your complaint letter. Your reasons may not conform exactly to the criteria stated above. However, this should not prevent you from at least making the request. The CDE will determine whether to accept your complaint for direct state investigation or to refer your complaint for a local investigation by your district.