Conflicts in Special Education

Division of Compliance and Assistance

Our Vision
To provide responsive leadership to support schools and families and to protect the rights of all students.

Our Mission
We serve the education system with professional integrity by: 
Assessing and investigating allegations of student maltreatment.
  • Facilitating the resolution of special education disputes and other student issues.
  • Advocating and demonstrating best practices for the use of special education funds.
  • Training and guiding special education leadership through the monitoring process to ensure compliance.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The IDEA guarantees the special education rights of more than 130,000 Minnesota children with disabilities. As required by the IDEA, the Division of Compliance and Assistance administers the special education alternative dispute resolution, complaint, and hearing systems to provide support to parents and districts when special education conflicts arise.

What's New?

Title IX
The United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, has developed a one page document setting out the Title IX rule changes related to posting requirements that will take effect on August 14, 2020. (added 7/30/2020)

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation and facilitated team meetings are informal, voluntary processes, during which an impartial third party helps parents and schools work toward a solution to a disagreement about a student’s special education program.

Special Education Complaints

A written complaint may be filed if it is believed that a district has violated federal or state special education requirements.

Special Education Hearings

The IDEA provides for due process hearings to resolve disputes relating to the identification, evaluation, placement, or the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to a child with a disability and certain discipline matters.

Special Education Training

Find information on special education trainings, webinars, and supplemental materials.

Positive Intervention Strategies Training Modules

Three online training modules that provide positive strategies for school staff to use with students with disabilities are now available.


The division provides general program oversight to districts through our monitoring systems, as required by the IDEA.

Program Monitoring

The program monitoring unit provides training and oversight of special education programs through monitoring to ensure compliance with federal and state laws. 

Fiscal Monitoring

The fiscal monitoring unit provides training and oversight of special education funds through monitoring to ensure compliance.

Additional Assistance

The division also addresses issues in the following areas:

Civil Rights Compliance

The Minnesota Department of Education reviews school districts to assure that they apply certain laws regarding discrimination. MDE’s review program is designed to ensure that all groups and populations have an equal opportunity to access their education.

Section 504 Plans

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights statute that protects a student with a disability from discrimination. The Section 504 page includes the Section 504 Compliance Manual, forms, and more.

Student Discipline

Find resources for when a student is removed from school for disciplinary reasons, including a summary of the Pupil Fair Dismissal Act.

Student Maltreatment and Investigation

This unit investigates reports of alleged physical abuse, neglect or sexual abuse of children that occur in Minnesota public schools by school employees. See the Student Maltreatment page.