A descriptive study of special education due process hearings in Texas from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The foundation of special education law is based upon the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that secures equal protection for all and bars states from denying individuals the right to life, liberty, and property without due process. In accordance with the 14th Amendment and the Individuals with Disabilities Act, the Texas Education Agency has developed a process to resolve conflict between parents and school districts over special education dispute issues. Parents may contest a student’s special education services through a voluntary facilitated individual education plan conference, or they may follow the state mandated resolution route that first includes mediation, then complaint resolution, and finally, the special education due process hearing. The due process hearing is a time-consuming, expensive method for resolving conflict that damages relationships between parents and districts and places students, and their special education services, in the middle of the conflict. Several studies have examined different aspects of the special education due process hearings at the state, multi-state, and national level, but only two studies have examined special education due process hearings in Texas from 2006-2008 and 2011-2015. This study utilized a descriptive, quantitative research design to examine the initiating and prevailing parties, dispute issues, and student disability categories in special education due process hearings held in Texas from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019 to identify common issues that lead to conflict in providing special education services and to define the status quo. The data analysis showed that parents are significantly more likely to file for, and less likely to prevail, in a special education due process hearing which illustrates a need for training and improved special education resources for parents; additional training for educators; a focus on collaborative practices; and policy changes that extend the definition of meaningful educational benefit.



Special education, Due process hearing