Date Published: Dec 31, 2014
Blackwell, W.H. and Blackwell, V.V.



    "Of the three formal dispute resolution procedures provided by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), due process hearings are the most costly in terms of time, fiscal resources, and impact on relationships between school personnel and parents. This study examined 258 due process hearings held over the past 8 years in Massachusetts to examine the characteristics of students at the center of these disputes, the issues that were addressed in the hearings, and the representation utilized by parents and school districts. The findings from this study indicated that (a) Massachusetts school districts utilized attorney representation and won due process hearings at notably higher levels than parents, and (b) the most frequently addressed issues at due process hearings were Individualized Education Program (IEP) development/implementation and educational program placement, which are issues that represent the core mandate of IDEA to provide a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment (34 C.F.R. §300.300, 300.550). The authors present recommendations for policy actions and areas for future research."