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Dispute Resolution Options
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) offers three options under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for resolving disputes related to special education: mediation, state complaints, and due process complaints. Click on a button below for more information on each option.
Parent and Child Rights in Special Education
The Procedural Safeguards Notice explains the rights of a parent of a student with a disability and the procedures that protect those rights under state and federal special education law, including the Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
ECEA and IDEA require that a school district, a board of cooperative educational services (BOCES), or a State Operated Program provide the Procedural Safeguards Notice to parents at least once per year and on the following occasions: upon initial referral or on request for evaluation; upon receipt of the first state complaint and upon receipt of the first due process complaint in a school year; upon a disciplinary change of placement; or upon parent request. With parental agreement, a public agency can provide a parent an electronic copy of the procedural safeguards notice (e.g., through email) instead of a paper copy.
Dispute Resolution Office Operations during COVID-19
The CDE's top priority is the health and safety of all students, educators and communities in Colorado. During this time of unprecedented national emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, access to CDE's Office of Dispute Resolution—located at 1560 Broadway in Denver—has been restricted from guests and visitors.
For this reason, the CDE is not presently accepting hand-delivered state or due process complaints. The CDE is still accepting complaints by mail at:
Dispute Resolution Office
Colorado Department of Education
Exceptional Student Services Unit
1560 Broadway, Suite 1100
Denver, Colorado 80202
If you have any questions about this, or if you are unable to mail a state or due process complaint, please contact us.
Mediation and Due Process during COVID-19
Where the COVID-19 pandemic prevents parents or school staff from attending mediation in person, they may agree to mediate virtually through a video conferencing platform, such as Zoom. For more information on mediation click here.
Where the COVID-19 pandemic prevents parents or school staff from attending a resolution meeting in person, they may participate in a resolution meeting virtually through a video conference or a conference call subject to parental agreement. For more information on due process complaints click here.
Office of Special Education Programs and Office for Civil Rights COVID-19 Resources
- OSEP Question and Answer Regarding IDEA Dispute Resolution Procedures from June 22, 2020 (PDF)
- OSEP Question and Answer Regarding Procedural Safeguards from June 30, 2020 (PDF)
- OCR Question and Answer for K-12 Regarding COVID-19 from September 28, 2020 (PDF)
- OSERS and OCR Long COVID under Section 504 and the IDEA: A Resource to Support Children, Students, Educators, Schools, Service Providers, and Families from July 26, 2021 (PDF)
- OSEP Question and Answer: Return to School Roadmap - Child Find Under Part B of the IDEA from August 24, 2021 (PDF)
- OSEP Question and Answer: Return to School Roadmap - IEP Development and Implementation from September 30, 2021 (PDF)
- Questions and Answers on IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution Procedure (Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services) (PDF)
- 2nd Edition of the OSEP Glossary of Spanish Translations of Common IDEA Terms (SPAN Parent Advocacy Network) (PDF)
- Working Together Series - Free Interactive Courses to Promote Effective Collaboration between Parents and Schools (The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Education) (External Link)
- OSERS FAQ: The Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Charter Schools under the IDEA (PDF)
- OCR FAQ: The Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Charter Schools under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PDF)
- Out from the Shadows: Informal Removal of Children with Disabilities from Public Schools (NDRN) (PDF)
- OCR: Supporting Students with Disabilities and Avoiding the Discriminatory Use of Student Discipline under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PDF)
- OSERS: Dear Colleague Letter on Implementation of IDEA Discipline Provisions (PDF)
Brandon Edelman, Esq.
Supervisor, Dispute Resolution
Dispute Resolution Paralegal & Coordinator
Ashley Schubert, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Ross Meyers, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Exceptional Student Services Unit, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1100, Denver, CO 80202 | Phone: 303-866-6694, Fax: 303-866-6767
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If you have problems with broken links or accessing the content on this page, please contact the Exceptional Student Services Unit at ESSU@cde.state.co.us. Please copy the URL link for this page into the email when referencing the problem you are experiencing.