Dispute Resolution (between family and school)

Here we provide some resources for parents and caregivers to better understand and use available methods for resolving conflicts or disputes between families and schools.

Federal Discipline Guidance and Resources, issued July 2022
July 19, 2022

Released on July 19, 2022, the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) published several policy documents and guides to  help public elementary and secondary schools fulfill their responsibilities to meet the needs of students with disabilities and avoid the discriminatory use of student discipline.

The  resources are the most comprehensive guidance on the civil rights of students with disabilities concerning student discipline and build on the Department’s continued efforts to support students and schools through pandemic recovery.

  • PDF, Federal Discipline Guidance and Resources, issued July 2022

    Questions and Answers: Addressing the Needs of Children with Disabilities and IDEA's Discipline Provisions from OSERS

  • PDF, Federal Discipline Guidance and Resources, issued July 2022

    Stakeholders' Guide: Positive, Proactive Approaches to Supporting Children with Disabilities from OSERS

  • PDF, Federal Discipline Guidance and Resources, issued July 2022

    Dear Colleague Letter: Addressing the Needs of Children with Disabilities and IDEA's Discipline Provisions

  • PDF, Federal Discipline Guidance and Resources, issued July 2022

    Dear Colleague Letter: Supporting Students with Disabilities and Avoiding the Discriminatory Use of Student Discipline under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • PDF, Federal Discipline Guidance and Resources, issued July 2022

    Fact Sheet: Supporting Students with Disabilities and Avoiding the Discriminatory Use of Student Discipline Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973


Ready to Resolve? Collaborative Problem Solving with Agency Partners webinar

Recorded live on  June 10, 2021, FFF staff present communication strategies and collaborative problem solving techniques to increase clarity of message and reduce conflicts.

  • Webinar, Ready to Resolve? Collaborative Problem Solving with Agency Partners webinar

    Webinar recording

  • PDF, Ready to Resolve? Collaborative Problem Solving with Agency Partners webinar

    Presentation slides


Home/School Contract- Fillable template

This fillable Word document can be used to create and customize a written agreement between student, parent/caregiver, and school staff.  Customize areas and actions and clarify recognitions and rewards.

  • Document, Home/School Contract- Fillable template


Virginia’s Parent Guide to Special Education Dispute Resolution
September 01, 2008

This guide is designed to assist parents in understanding Virginia’s dispute resolution systems of mediation, complaints, and due process hearings. It offers guidance in selecting an appropriate course of action and describes how to request and prepare for mediation, how to file and proceed with a complaint, and how to file and prepare for a due process hearing.

  • Guide, Virginia’s Parent Guide to Special Education Dispute Resolution


National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)

The National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) offers publications, webinars and other resources on resolving special education disputes.

CADRE’s Dispute Resolution Parent Guides are now available! One each on Mediation, Written State Complaints, Resolution Meetings, and Due Process Complaints/Hearing Requests.

  • Website, National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)

    Direction Service

  • Website, National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)

    Dispute Resolution Parent Guides


Revised US Department of Education Questions and Answers, July 2013
July 01, 2013

The US Department of Education revised Questions and Answers about dispute resolution procedures available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The document is long, but covers specifics about mediation, State complaints, due process complaints and hearings, resolution meetings, and expedited due process hearings.

  • Document, Revised US Department of Education Questions and Answers, July 2013

  • Website, Revised US Department of Education Questions and Answers, July 2013