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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Timeline for requesting a hearing (Sec. 300.511(e)) and Exceptions to the timeline (Sec. 300.511(f))

Comment: Some commenters stated that exceptions to the timeline in Sec. 300.511(f) should include situations in which a parent is unable to file a due process complaint because the parent is not literate or cannot write in English. One commenter recommended considering the parent's degree of English fluency and other factors in determining the parent's ability to have knowledge about the alleged action that is the basis for the due process complaint.

Discussion: Section 300.511(f), consistent with section 615(f)(3)(D) of the Act, provides explicit exceptions to the statute of limitations for filing a due process complaint. These exceptions include situations in which the parent is prevented from filing a due process complaint because the LEA withheld from the parent information that is required to be provided to parents under these regulations, such as failing to provide prior written notice or a procedural safeguards notice that was not in the parent's native language, as required by Sec. Sec. 300.503(c) and 300.504(d), respectively. Additionally, in States using the timeline in Sec. 300.511(e) (i.e., "within two years of the date the parent or agency knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the complaint"), hearing officers will have to make determinations, on a case-by-case basis, of factors affecting whether the parent "knew or should have known" about the action that is the basis of the complaint. Therefore, we decline to add additional exceptions to Sec. 300.511(f).

Changes: None.

Comment: Some commenters requested that the regulations clarify whether the statute of limitations in section 615(b)(6)(B) of the Act is the same statute of limitations in section 615(f)(3)(C) of the Act. The commenters stated that the Act and regulations are confusing because the statute of limitations is mentioned twice and implies that the timeline for filing a complaint and filing a request for a due process hearing are different.

Discussion: The statute of limitations in section 615(b)(6)(B) of the Act is the same as the statute of limitations in section 615(f)(3)(C) of the Act. Because we are following the structure of the Act, we have included this language in Sec. Sec. 300.507(a)(2) and 300.511(e).

Changes: None.

Comment: Some commenters recommended that the regulations clarify that "misrepresentations" by an LEA in Sec. 300.511(f)(1) include misleading, as well as false, statements. The commenters stated that misleading statements create the same obstacle for parents as false statements in terms of when parents know about an alleged violation. One commenter recommended that "misrepresentations" include both intentional and unintentional misrepresentations.

Discussion: We do not believe it is appropriate to define or clarify the meaning of "misrepresentations," as requested by the commenters. Such matters are within the purview of the hearing officer. If the complaining party believes that the timeline in Sec. 300.511(e) should not apply, the complaining party would need to ask the hearing officer to determine whether an untimely due process complaint can proceed to hearing based on misrepresentations by an LEA. The hearing officer would then determine whether the party's allegation constitutes an exception to the applicable timeline.

Changes: None.