Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


The provision of special education due process hearings is mandated by P.L. 94-142 to resolve any conflict between the parents (or guardian) of the special education child and public school personnel in providing educational and related services that address the unique needs of the child. An impartial hearing officer is to preside at the hearing. This person is empowered to resolve the dispute. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision rendered by the hearing officer, they may appeal to the State, and even higher court level. This investigation was an in-depth analysis of the structural characteristics and outcome of special education due process hearings in Louisiana from 1978-1983. The findings of the study indicated that there were 147 hearings during this five-year interim. School districts were more successful in resolving the conflict in their favor. If the hearing was appealed, the findings for the school district were even more favorable. The issue most widely presented for hearing officers to resolve concerned the placement of the child in a private setting, at public expense. Parents of mentally retarded children used the due process hearing most frequently than did parents of children who had other exceptionalities. The Learning Disabled Child was found to be classified fifty percent of the time as having a secondary exceptionality of Emotionally Disturbed. There were some similarities between the findings of this study and due process hearings investigated in other states. Further research is needed to determine if certain characteristics of special education due process hearings are continuous, and/or if certain characteristics present a nationwide phenomenon.