Hearings and Mediations Accessibility GuidelinesThis page states a California Department of Education contractor conducting special education hearings and mediations must have and follow policies and procedures for equitable services to all participants.
Americans with Disabilities Act, (42 United States Code (U.S.C.) §12101 et seq.), Section 504 regulations (34 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) §104), Title II regulations at (28 C.F.R. §35), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. §794 et seq.), the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civil Code, §51 et seq.), and California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title I §1032.
In compliance with state and federal law, the California Department of Education (CDE) prohibits any form of discrimination and continues to promote equitable educational experiences. All entities, while conducting business on behalf of the CDE, must also comply with these laws. Therefore, the CDE requires the Department of General Services, Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), as well as any other future entity that may conduct special education hearings and mediations on behalf of the CDE, to provide equitable services to all students, parents, guardians, and other hearing and mediation participants. No individual shall be denied participation during the OAH’s special education hearings based upon their disabilities.
The OAH must ensure all facilities used for special education hearings and mediations are held in facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities. Generally, the location of OAH’s special education hearings are chosen by the local educational agency (LEA) at facilities located near the student for the family’s convenience and therefore, the LEA must provide a location that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. The OAH must create policies and procedures to ensure proceedings are held in accessible facilities. This shall include, but is not limited to, notification of this requirement to the LEA and how the OAH will respond if, upon arrival to the proceedings, the participants find the location is not accessible to individuals with disabilities. The policies and procedures related to accessible facilities must be available to all participants via the OAH website and printed materials.
There must be a provision of reasonable accommodations to students, parents, guardians, and other hearing and mediation participants with disabilities, when necessary to ensure equal access. Participants must be provided clear direction as to how to request reasonable accommodations for the OAH mediations. Therefore, the OAH must create reasonable accommodation policies and procedures. This shall include, but is not limited to, how the OAH will respond if, upon arrival to the proceedings, the participants find the previously requested accommodations are not available. The policies and procedures related to reasonable accommodations must be available to all participants via the OAH website and printed materials.
The OAH must ensure all aforementioned policies and procedures are followed and enforced. The CDE will continue to make certain the OAH, or any future entity conducting special education hearings and meditations on behalf of the CDE, follows all laws related to accessible facilities and reasonable accommodations. These requirements are to be reflected in all current and future contracts between the CDE and OAH and shall be monitored for compliance.