Massachusetts Department of Education (Bureau of Special Education Appeals)

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Massachusetts Department of Education (Bureau of Special Education Appeals)

350 Main Street
Malden, Massachusetts, 02148
(781) 338-6402

Contact: Richard Connolly

The Bureau of Special Education Appeals (”BSEA”) conducts mediations, advisory opinions and due process hearings to resolve disputes among parents, school districts, private schools and state agencies. The BSEA derives its authority from both federal law and regulations (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, “IDEA”) and Massachusetts law and regulations. A parent or a school district may request mediation, advisory opinions and/or a hearing at any time on any matter concerning the eligibility, evaluation, placement, individualized education program (IEP), provision of special education in accordance with state and federal law, or procedural protections of state and federal law for students with disabilities. A school district may not request a hearing on a parent’s failure or refusal to consent to initial evaluation or initial placement of a child in a special education program. In addition, a parent may request a hearing on any issue involving the denial of the free appropriate public education guaranteed by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Mediations, advisory opinions and hearings are conducted by impartial mediators and hearing officers who do not have personal or professional interests that would conflict with their objectivity in the hearing or mediation. The BSEA consists of eight hearing officers, all of whom are attorneys, eight mediators, a coordinator of mediation, a scheduling coordinator, support staff, an assistant director and a director. The BSEA is located with the Massachusetts Department of Education, but is independent from the Department.

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