Systemic Compliance Complaints: Making IDEA’s Enforcement Provisions a Reality

Since the passage of what is now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) in 1975, this country has recognized the importance of providing appropriate educational services to students with disabilities. When a school district fails to provide these services, an organization can file a compliance complaint with the state’s designated education agency to investigate the violation. This Note uses California as a case study and argues that state education agencies should be required to investigate systemic violations, even when the names of affected students are not provided. To effectively protect the rights of students with disabilities and to help organizations conserve their limited resources, this Note argues that Congress should reduce the barriers to obtaining relief for students with disabilities by outlining a clear statement of the state education agencies’ obligation to investigate all valid compliance complaints.