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Dispute Resolution

Welcome to the Special Education Dispute Resolution website. The links below offer information on dispute resolution options available to parents and school districts regarding disputes that may arise during the Special Education process. In addition to information on Mediation, State Complaints, and Due Process Complaints, please explore our resources for early dispute resolution, understanding your rights, and important Special Education laws and regulations.


Mediation is an informal, voluntary process in which a neutral person assists the parties in communicating and exploring possible options for resolving conflict.  The goal of special education mediation is to help the parties reach their own mutually acceptable resolution of the disputed issues related to a student’s special education services.
Click here for more info on Mediation.

Model forms (use not required):
Mediation Request Form (PDF)
Mediation Request Form (Word)
Solicitud de Mediacion (PDF)

State Complaint

A State Complaint is a written complaint requesting an investigation of any alleged violations of the IDEA requirements.  A State Complaints Officer will conduct an informal investigation, considering the information and interviews of the parties involved, and issue a written decision.
Click here for more info on State Complaints.

Model Forms (use not required):
State Complaint Form (PDF)
Queja con el Estado (PDF)

Due Process Complaint

A Due Process complaint is a process involving an Administrative Law Judge who conducts a hearing, much like a formal court proceeding. The ALJ considers the information and testimony offered by each side and issues a written decision.
Click here for more info on Due Process Complaints.

Model Forms (use not required):
Due Process Complaint Form (PDF)
Due Process Complaint Form (Word)
Queja de Debido Proceso (PDF)

Contact Us

For more information, or to speak with someone about dispute resolution options, contact:

Exceptional Student Services Unit, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1100, Denver, CO 80202 | Phone: 303-866-6694, Fax: 303-866-6767

Candace Hawkins, Esq.
Supervisor, Dispute Resolution
Email Candace Hawkins

Jacqueline Esquibel, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Email Jacqueline Esquibel

Tom Treinen, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Email Tom Treinen

Brandon Edelman, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Email Brandon Edelman

Jennifer Woods
Dispute Resolution Paralegal & Coordinator
Email Jennifer Woods

Tracey Schaffer
Program Support
Email Tracey Schaffer




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Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
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