Mediation can be an effective way to work to resolve differences and work through disagreements between parties. Mediation means you have a meeting with a neutral third party person, to chair the meeting.
Mediation can be requested for a number of reasons:
If there is a disagreement:
About eligibility, placement or implementation of the IEP
About evaluating your child’s or funding an outside evaluations
About child’s 504 Accommodation Plan
Between the parents and the school district regarding the student’s special education needs
Between the PAC and school special education policies or processors
Between any parities
If you rejected your child’s IEP in full or in part
Advocacy Institute Guide on Preparing for mediation
What is Mediation?
Mediation is voluntary for both the parents and the school. Both parties must agree, in order to have a mediation session.
Mediation is more informal than a hearing. Attorneys are not needed at mediation and parties speak for themselves. At a hearing attorneys are present and speak for the participants. Mediation may be less intimidating to parents.
Mediation is timely in two ways, it is usually scheduled within 30 calendar days after parents and educators agree to mediate. A mediation session runs 2-5 hours long, whereas a hearing is 1-3 days. Mediation generally occurs before a hearing and does not delay the hearing.
Mediation is confidential; discussions that occur during the mediation process are not to be used in hearing. There is no audio, video or any written record of the mediation session other than the written, signed mediation agreement.
The mediator helps parents and school personnel clarify the issues and underlying concerns, explore interests, discuss options and reach an agreement.
Mediators do not make decisions about how to resolve the issues. That is left up to the Team (parents, student, and school personnel).
If an agreement can be reached, the mediator will put it in writing. Both parties leave with a copy.