If you disagree with the school's decision

If you don't agree with the decision, there are many options for what you can do next.

Remember that the school district is required to uphold your rights. Your rights include options for disagreeing with a decision about your child's services or education.

Here's what you can do:

  • Talk to your child's teacher and your contact at the school department. Explain why you disagree. Be persistent!

  • Consider getting another evaluation. If you disagree with the school's results, you can ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). The school system might be able to pay for it.

  • You may also consider getting a special education advocate. See the Resource Directory to find one.

  • As a last resort, learn about a process called dispute resolution.It involves getting a special facilitator, asking for mediation, and filing complaints with the school district. See the section in the menu on the left: Solving disagreements with the school.

Click on the box below to learn more:

If you don't agree with the results of the pupil appraisal, you can ask for an IEE.

This is another appraisal from an independent evaluator: someone you choose, who is not from the school system. You have a right to ask for this, and the school system should pay for it.

Note: Your local school district will often be called your LEA or Local Education Agency.

Here are some of your rights:

  • When you ask for an IEE, your LEA must give you information about where you can get one

  • They must tell you the guidelines to follow in the IEE process

  • They cannot restrict who you choose to conduct the IEE

  • You should ask the LEA to pay for the IEE. They must do one of these things right away:

    • Make sure you get an IEE at public expense,


    • Take official action to prove that their decision is appropriate. (This means filing a request for a due process hearing.)

Click on the link at the end of the page to download a sample letter. You can adapt this and include your child's name, address, school district , etc. (It will open in a new tab or appear at the bottom corner of your screen.)

Keep records of all your communications with the school!

Image of a file folder with a sheet of ruled paper.

  • Include emails, letters, phone calls, even conversations

  • Make sure there's a date

  • This can prove what you have asked for, and when

  • It may help later on if you have to stick up for your rights

Source: LA DOE

Dispute resolution is a process of resolving disagreements.

The school system has a formal process to go through. This is your legal right.

These are the steps, in order:

Image of a schoolhouse1. Meet with the school again
Share your concerns with the school team and try to work together.


Image of an IEP Binder2. Request a facilitated IEP
Bring in a neutral facilitator to improve communication between you
and the IEP team.


Image of 3 people sitting at a table3. Ask for Mediation
Bring in a neutral mediator who is trained to help resolve issues
between you and the school district.


Image of a signed document

4. File an informal complaint
5. File a formal complaint


Image of a courthouse6. File for a Due Process Hearing
This is a formal meeting, like a court trial. This should be a last resort!


How to find more information:

Image of Louisiana Department of Education Dispute Resolution Comparison Chart


Source: LA DOE

Who are special education advocates? 

  • They are experienced professionals who help families work with their schools. They can help you to stand up for what you need.

  • Some advocates are parents who have gone through the special education system. Some are former special education teachers. Usually they are not lawyers, but they are trained to know when to refer you to a lawyer.

  • There is no official certification for advocates, but a good one will have done some training with an organization like Families Helping Families or the Advocacy Center. They are trained to help negotiate and to know when to refer you to a lawyer.

A good advocate: 

  • Is well-trained and knows the law

  • Understands disabilities

  • Understands your school system

  • Takes time to know your child

  • Empowers you

  • Acts professionally

If you want to talk to an advocate, ask your school district contact to put you in touch with one. Or ask Families Helping Families.

You can also use databases from COPAA and Wrightslaw to find advocates near you.*

Make sure to ask about cost. Some advocates work for free or on a sliding scale, others charge a fee.

*We do not endorse any of the providers listed on these databases.

Sources: Families Helping Families, Advocacy LA


Source: LA DOE