The special education complaint system is designed to ensure that all children (birth through age 21) with disabilities are provided a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
- Parents, individuals, or organizations may file a signed, written complaint with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) if they believe a district or public education agency has violated federal or state special education requirements. 34 C.F.R. 300.151-300.153.
- The complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than one year prior to the date MDE receives the complaint. 34 C.F.R. 300.151.
- The party filing the complaint must forward a copy of the complaint to the district or public education agency serving the child at the same time the party files the complaint with MDE. 34 C.F.R. 300.153.
MDE is only authorized to investigate complaints regarding special education. A complaint investigation and mediation can be requested at the same time. If a complaint investigation and a due process hearing are requested on the same issues, the complaint will remain on hold until the due process hearing has ended. Additional information about alternative dispute resolution can be found on MDE's Alternative Dispute Resolution web page.