Three major changes coming to Special Education Law in Virginia.

For parents in Virginia, especially the greater Richmond area, positive changes in the school system are due to be implemented that will give parents more control and help in providing their children an appropriate education.

The three biggest changes coming will be: 1) The way VDOE handles their general supervision duty; 2) what types of evaluations are allowed for an IEE; and 3) who can be present during a due process mediation.

First, with regards to the VDOE’s general supervision requirement of all programs involving children requiring special education. Up until now the VDOE has only responded to formal complaints and help to facilitate due process claims. They had no policy or procedure in which to investigate and supervise a school unless it was through one of those formal channels.  Once the policy is changed the VDOE will consider all credible information regardless of whether it was from a formal complaint or an informal source.

Second, with regards to Individual Education Evaluations (IEE). When a parent disagrees with an evaluation by a school they are entitled to receive an IEE, an outside independent opinion of an evaluator of their choosing, paid for by the school. VDOE has interpreted that to mean that the only evaluations that the school needed to pay for were ones that were evaluating the same thing the school looked into. So if the school evaluated the student for ADHD but not Autism then the parent could receive the IEE for ADHA but not Autism. Once in effect, VDOE’s new policy will change to cover evaluations that the school did not.

Third, with regards to the school opt for mediation as part of a due process complaint, the state will be required to have an independent mediator.  The state will not be able to have their mediator involved at all in the mediation. Previously the VDOE would often times have a mediator who was an employee of the state physically present during a mediation if the neutral third-party mediator was still in training.

The VDOE must identify how these changes will be made by September 21, 2020.

If you have questions about special education, advocating for your child’s educational needs, or assistance in a due process claim please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at or 804-423-1382.  We would like to help.