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Complaints and Appeals

File a Complaint

Use the form linked above to file a complaint regarding Division 22 Standards, discrimination, restraint and seclusion, retaliation or religious entanglement.

To file a complaint regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), email Special Education Legal Specialist Mike Franklin.

Child Nutrition Program Civil Rights complaints can be made on a separate web page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the "+" next to the question to read the answer.

​For some types of complaints, a parent or student may file the complaint directly with the Oregon Department of Education. These complaints include religious entanglement and special education. For other types of complaints, a parent or student must first file the complaint with the school district and complete the school district’s complaint process. The department accepts these complaints “on appeal.” These complaints include Division 22 standards, discrimination, restraint and seclusion, and retaliation. To learn more about the department’s processes for accepting complaints, you may contact our complains and appeals team​.

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​The Oregon Department of Education accepts complaints and appeals involving Division 22 standards, discrimination, restraint and seclusion, retaliation, religious entanglement and special education.

  • Division 22 standards are educational standards that either the Oregon legislature or the State Board of Education has determined are necessary. Examples include the minimum number of credits necessary to graduate high school, the use of statewide assessments and the availability of specific programs, such as a talented and gifted program. To learn more, you may contact our complains and appeals team.
  • Discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently, whether intentionally or unintentionally, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age, or disability. Under Oregon’s anti-discrimination statute, it is unlawful for a school to discriminate against a student or other person. To learn more, you may contact either Civil Rights Education Specialist Winston Cornwall or Civil Rights and Title IX Specialist Kate Hildebrandt.
  • Restraint occurs when a person restricts a student’s movement by holding the student or applying physical pressure upon the student. Seclusion occurs when a student is involuntarily confined in a room without access to staff and is prevented from leaving the room. Under Oregon law, when a student is restrained or secluded, the student’s parent or legal guardian must be notified of the incident and invited to a meeting to discuss the incident. The law also prohibits the use of chemical restraints, mechanical restraints, and prone restraints. To learn more, you may contact Behavior and Discipline Education Specialist Lisa Bateman.
  • Retaliation occurs when a person makes a decision that adversely affects a student because the student reported evidence that the student believed to be a violation of law. Under Oregon’s anti-retaliation statute, it is unlawful for a school to retaliate against a student. To learn more, you may contact our complains and appeals team.
  • Under Oregon law, a public school may not financially support or be actively involved with religious activity. To learn more, you may contact our complains and appeals team​.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)​ is a federal law that ensures students who have a disability are provided a free and appropriate public education. Schools are required to follow IDEA and rules adopted by the State Board of Education that implement IDEA. To learn more, you may ​contact Special Education Legal Specialist Mike Franklin​​.
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​Oregon is known as a "local control state." In local control states, locally elected school boards regulate the public schools located within their school districts. The Oregon Department of Education does not have the authority to accept a complaint unless a federal or state law allows or requires the department to investigate and enforce the law. To learn more about the department’s ability to accept complaints, you may contact our complains and appeals team​​.

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​Even if the Oregon Department of Education cannot accept your complaint, it can be a resource for you. The department has experts on everything ranging from in-district transfers to private schools. To reach the right expert, you may contact Elena Mandujano​​.

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​If a student attends a public charter school, a private alternative education program, or a private school, the law might apply to the student differently than it applies to a student attending a regular public school. To learn more about public charter schools, you may contact Charter School Specialist Kate Pattison. To learn more about private alternative education programs, you may contact Alternative Education Specialist Annie Marges. To learn more about private schools, you may contact Joni Gilles​.

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​If a school district is deficient, the Oregon Department of Education will order the school district to correct the deficiency.

Under the law, the department cannot order a school district to pay damages or attorney fees. The department is limited to ordering school districts to receive training, implement procedures, develop written policies, or perform other functions that will ensure that the school district will not violate the law in the future.

If a school district does not correct a deficiency, the department may withhold a State School Fund payment or a portion of State School Fund payment from the district.

To learn more about what remedies are available to you, you may contact our complains and appeals team​.

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Click here if you wish to file a complaint involving a Division 22 standard, discrimination, restraint and seclusion, retaliation, or religious entanglement, or you may contact our complains and appeals team via email​. If you wish to file a complaint under IDEA, please contact Special Education Legal Specialist Mike Franklin​.


  • ​​Behavior and Discipline Education Specialist Lisa Bateman is an expert on restraint and seclusion law. Lisa is also an expert on bullying and harassment and student discipline. You may email Lisa or call her at (503) 947-5655.
  • Civil Rights Education Specialist Winston Cornwall is a civil rights specialist and receives complaints of discrimination specific to race, color, religion, national origin, age, and disability. Winston also provides instruction, training, and mediation services. You may email Winston or call him at (503) 947-5675.
  • Special Education Legal Specialist Mike Franklin is the principal investigator for complaints filed under IDEA. Mike is also the department’s legal specialist on matters related to special education and student services. You may email Mike or call him at (503) 947-5634.
  • Joni Gilles is the Oregon Department of Education’s ombudsman of private schools. You may email Joni​ or call her at (503) 947-5638.
  • The complaint and appeals team serves as the principal investigators for Division 22, retaliation, and religious entanglement complaints. If you have questions about those types of complaints, please ​contact our complaint and appeals team.
  • Civil Rights and Title IX Specialist Kate Hildebrandt receives complaints of discrimination specific to sex, sexual orientation, gender identify and marital status. Kate also provides instruction, training and mediation services. You may email Kate or call her at (503) 947-5667.
  • Charter School Specialist Kate Pattison provides technical and legal support to public charter schools and school districts in overseeing public charter schools. Kate also assists persons starting public charter schools, families with students enrolled in public charter schools, and anyone else who has questions about public charter schools. You may email Kate or call her at (503) 580-5749.
  • Alternative Education Specialist Annie Marges provides technical and legal support to private alternative education programs and school districts in overseeing such programs. Annie also assists families with students enrolled in alternative private education programs and anyone else who has questions about such programs. You may email Annie​ or call her at (503) 934-0787.
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