Special Education Mediation

Posted: Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:46am Updated: Wed, 08/14/2013 - 2:09pm

Key Points about Mediation:

  • A Request for Mediation may be initiated by the parent or the public agency. The Request for Mediation form is required.
  • The Request for Mediation Form must be faxed, mailed or hand-delivered to the Indiana Department of Education/Office of Legal Affairs. The form may be completed electronically, but it must then be printed and include a handwritten signature.
  • The mediation process cannot begin unless both parties agree to participate.
  • Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that provides a trained and impartial mediator to facilitate discussion between the parent(s) and school to help the parties resolve a disagreement.
  • There is no cost to the parent(s) or the school.
  • Mediation sessions are scheduled in a timely manner in a location convenient to both parties.
  • All discussions that occur in a mediation session are confidential and cannot be used as evidence in a due process hearing or court proceeding.
  • Mediation may be requested before or at the same time as a request for a due process hearing.
  • If the disagreement is resolved through mediation, the parties must put their agreement in writing in a written agreement.
    • The written agreement must be signed by both the parent and the school's representative.
    • It must describe the parties' agreement.
    • It must state that all discussions that occurred during mediation are confidential and will not be used as evidence in a due process hearing or other civil court proceeding.
  • The written agreement is a legally binding agreement that may be enforced through the state complaint process or in federal or state court.

Mediation may be used to resolve:

  • A complaint;
  • A disagreement from the Case Conference Committee meeting regarding:
    • A student's identification or eligibility for services;
    • The appropriateness of the evaluation, level of services, or placement;
    • Anything else affecting the provision of a free appropriate public education; or
  • A disagreement about the schol reimbursing the parent(s) for services obtained by the parent(s) (e.g., private therapy, evaluation, etc.).

The Mediator:

  • Works with the parent(s) and school to schedule a convenient date, time, and location for the mediation session;
  • Helps the parent(s) and the school identify and talk about the issues causing the disagreement;
  • Gives everyone the opportunity to present his or her point of view;
  • Helps the parent(s) and school personnel look at whether there are any common grounds or issues on which they might be able to agree;
  • Helps the parties communicate and, if possible, reach an agreement; and
  • Does not recommend solutions or take sides.

Office of Special Education/Due Process
Telephone: (317) 233-2131
Fax: (317) 232-0589
Email: specialeducation@doe.in.gov
Website: www.doe.in.gov/specialed