Special Education Mediation
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.).
- 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.