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OATH’s Special Education Hearings Division’s (SEHD) provides fair and neutral impartial hearings to resolve disputes between parents of students with disabilities and the New York City Department of Education (DOE).

SEHD hears cases filed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 (Section 504), which are federal laws. IDEA requires that students with disabilities get appropriate special education services. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against students or parents with disabilities.

If you and the DOE disagree about your rights or the DOE’s responsibility under these laws, impartial hearings are a way to resolve the dispute.

You may also file a state complaint with the State Education Department. Another option is mediation. Mediation is a form of voluntary dispute resolution.

Cases in the Special Education Hearing Division are decided by OATH Impartial Hearing Officers (IHOs).

OATH IHOs are appointed to four-year terms by OATH's Commissioner and Chief Administrative Law Judge. Four-year appointments help ensure IHOs’ independence and impartiality. Each IHO is an experienced attorney who has been trained and certified by New York State. IHOs have sole authority to issue orders and make decisions on the cases before them.

For more information about the hearing process, visit