What are Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Hearings?
The State Office of Administrative Hearings handles due process hearings in cases involving disputes between parents of students with disabilities and public school districts and/or public charter schools regarding special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, also known as IDEA.
Who refers Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Hearings to the State Office of Administrative Hearings?
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act hearings are referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings by the Texas Education Agency. A request for a due process hearing (the complaint) may be filed by either a student or a public school district or public charter school. The party requesting a hearing must send a written request to the Texas Education Agency.
The State Office of Administrative Hearings’ hearing officers are experienced legal professionals, with extensive training to supplement their understanding of the complex issues surrounding special education matters.
Issues Addressed in Due Process Hearings
- Special education eligibility
- School district right to assess a student for eligibility
- Independent educational evaluations
- Discipline of students who have disabilities
- The right of a student with a disability to a free appropriate public education
- Educational placement and least restrictive environment
All hearings are held at a location reasonably convenient to both parties. This is typically at the school district. This allows for an expeditious process and eliminates the time and expense of traveling for the families involved.
A party to a due process hearing has the right to be accompanied and represented by an attorney or non-attorney advocate who meets certain requirements. Some parents choose to be self-represented.
As of September 1, 2021, parties to proceedings under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act at SOAH are required to file and serve documents using eFileTexas, or another electronic filing service provider approved by the Office of Court Administration, in accordance with SOAH's Rules of Procedure.
Electronic filing is required for the Texas Education Agency, attorneys, authorized representatives, and school districts.
Self-represented parties (e.g., parents without an attorney or representative) are strongly encouraged, but not required, to file electronically and may instead use approved alternative methods of mail, fax, or hand-delivery. Email is not an accepted filing method, unless otherwise approved by the hearing officer based on a showing of good cause.
Documents may be filed by self-represented parties with the State Office of Administrative Hearings electronically or by United States Postal Mail, or hand-delivery:
Mail: IDEA Filings
P.O. Box 13025
Austin, Texas 78711-3025
300 West 15th Street
Austin, Texas 78701
All communications with the hearing officer must be shared with the opposing party’s attorney or authorized non-attorney representative or with a self-represented parent.
*This form is ONLY for use by IDEA unrepresented/pro se litigants.
If you are self-represented/pro se and would like to receive service electronically, please complete the E-Service Consent Form and either submit it online or download a copy and email it to IDEAFax@soah.labusa.com.
If you have any questions about your due process hearing, please contact the State Office of Administrative Hearings Austin office.