Special education mediation is a resource for parents of children with disabilities and school representatives to work out differences in a collaborative way. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process facilitated by a qualified, impartial mediator. It provides a safe space where parents and schools are empowered to develop agreements focused on the best interest of the child.
Special education mediation can be used to address disputes related to the provision of a FAPE for a student with a disability. Issues in dispute that can be brought to mediation include, but are not limited to:
- Recommendations for special education services;
- Educational placement;
- Disciplinary actions for a student with a disability; and/or
- Other matters arising under federal and State special education law and regulations that may not be the subject of a due process hearing request
Mediation can be used when a conflict has already escalated, as a precursor, or alternative, to the Impartial Hearing process. The sooner an issue is brought to the mediation table, the better the outcome for all involved - most importantly the student.
Benefits of special education mediation:
- Sessions are typically scheduled within 2 weeks of the request;
- Mediation is free to the parent and school district;
- The mediator helps to clarify the interests of the parties, which improves communication;
- The mediator helps identify the sources of the conflict and addresses underlying issues;
- The parties agree to solutions they create, increasing the likelihood of compliance;
- Mediations are less expensive, less negative, and are resolved faster than impartial hearings; and
- The goal is to reach a mutually acceptable agreement which is legally binding and enforceable in court.
Comments from participants:
- "The mediator fully and thoroughly discussed all options and took a very serious approach to our concerns."
- "I found the meeting very helpful and we all are on the same page in the best interest of Johnny."
- "The mediator was an insightful listener with a solid understanding of the issue."
- "The mediation was very focused with no wasted time. All in attendance were able to be heard."
For more information contact: