Consider an advisory opinion

If you and the school do not resolve your complaint in the resolution meeting, here's what you can do:

  • Go ahead with the due process hearing, OR

  • Ask for an advisory opinion. This is a planned session to get advice from a hearing officer. It's not required, but may help you find a solution and avoid the formal hearing. It's rare to get one in Massachusetts.

To get an advisory opinion:

  1. If you are using a lawyer, ask them if this option makes sense

  2. Work with the school to file a request for an Advisory Opinion. You will do this together through the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA). You can also request an advisory opinion on your own, but you will have to let the school know ahead of time that you are doing this.

  3. The BSEA will schedule an advisory opinion session.If you requested the advisory opinion, you will confirm the date and time with BSEA and the school.This will push back the date of any hearing you had scheduled.

  4. At least5 calendar days before the session, you and the school must share important documents and the names of 2 witnesses with each other.These documents describe your child's disability and educational needs. They may include the IEP, evaluations, IEP amendments, and progress reports.

  5. At the session, you and the school will each have one hour to present your case. The officer may ask questions.

The officer will give an opinion as to how the law would apply to your situation.If you or the school are not satisfied, you may continue with the due process hearing.

Click the box below to learn more about the advisory session:

More about an advisory opinion session

  • If you have an advisory opinion session, the BSEA will postpone your due process hearing by 30 days

  • The session is confidential and not recorded

  • Witnesses' statements are not made under oath

  • An advisory opinion is not written

  • An advisory opinion is not binding, but you and the school could agree ahead of time to follow it

  • If you or the school are not satisfied, you may continue on to the due process hearing.


Click on this link to learn more. (It will open in a new tab or window!)


Source: MA DESE

Sources: Commonwealth of MA, Federation for Children with Special Needs, MA DESE