The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal agency charged with ensuring equal access to education for all students. OCR enforces federal statutes that prohibit discrimination in public education. Anyone who believes that a public educational institution has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age may file a complaint with OCR.
The US Department of Education and US Department of Justice provides a two-page question and answer guide about schools' obligations to meet the communication needs of students with hearing, speech or vision disabilities. The guide includes links to further information, and steps parents can take to enforce a school's obligations.
NJP is Washington's legal aid program for low income persons. NJP provides free legal information, advice, limited assistance, representation, community education, outreach and other community based advocacy. NJP is part of a coalition that maintains the WashingtonLawHelp website, which offers links to legal information and resources on a wide variety of topics.
The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, OSPI, Special Education Parent Liaison is available as a resource to parents in non-legal special education matters and serves as a neutral and independent advocate for a fair process. The Special Education Parent Liaison does not advocate on behalf of any one party. Rather, the Special Education Parent Liaison exists to address individual concerns about bureaucratic systems and act as a guide for citizens attempting to understand and navigate various government processes and procedures.
TeamChild is a nonprofit civil legal aid organization. It provides free legal representation and advice to youth generally between ages 12-18 who come from low-income families and are involved in or at risk of being involved in the juvenile justice system. TeamChild has special education resources on their website and currently accepts referrals for youth living in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, and Yakima counties.
OEO, part of the Governor’s Office, functions independently from the public school system. OEO's intake and services are primarily conducted by telephone and are free and confidential. Ombuds can answer questions and provide information about what a parent and student’s rights are, facilitate meetings to find resolution to problems and concerns, and assist parents with navigating the public school system.