SPECIAL EDUCATION MEDIATION
WHEN PARENTS AND SCHOOLS DISAGREE
“I don’t want my child in a Special Education class.”
“If the child’s behavior continues, we can’t support him in our school.”
“I don’t think my child is getting enough services.”
“This child doesn’t belong in a general education class, and the parent isn’t listening.”
MEDIATION CAN HELP
Mediation is a process in which parents of a child with a disability and the school meet with a neutral person (a mediator) to work out their differences. It is often chosen instead of an impartial hearing as a way of resolving disputes about a student’s placement, services, evaluation, or classification. In most cases, the mediator is able to help develop an agreement that is acceptable to both the parent and the school in a way that:
- Allows all concerns to be heard
- Builds trust and improves communication
- Explores creative solutions
- Gives everyone a chance to have equal say in all decisions
ABOUT SPECIAL EDUCATION MEDIATION
A FREE SERVICE
Mediation is provided at no cost to parents and schools.
A VOLUNTARY PROCESS
Mediation can be requested by either parent or school, but will only take place if both parties agree to the process.
DIFFERENT FROM AN IMPARTIAL HEARING
An impartial hearing is a court proceeding where a hearing officer makes a decision based on evidence and testimony. Mediation is a dispute resolution process where a mediator assists parents and schools to work out disagreements about a child’s education plan. The mediator does not make decisions, but rather helps participants reach their own solutions.
Any agreement reached is binding and is written up at the mediation. After the mediation, the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is updated to reflect the terms of the agreement.
Special Education mediators have had extensive conflict resolution training and are knowledgeable about education law and the operations of the New York City school system. They are professionals from various occupations and are not employed by the Department of Education.
DUE PROCESS RIGHTS PROTECTED
Parents can request both an impartial hearing and mediation at the same time. The impartial hearing can be cancelled if all the concerns are resolved in mediation.
WHAT PARENTS AND SCHOOLS HAVE SAID ABOUT MEDIATION
“Mediation helped us reach an agreement that was much better for my child.”
“Mediation opened the channels of communication and allowed everyone to be creative in their approach to the child.”
“Mediation was the only way my voice could be heard.”
Two short videos describe the process:
TO REQUEST MEDIATION
Send requests for mediation to your child’s school and the Mediation Center.
New York Peace Institute
Brooklyn Mediation Center
210 Joralemon Street, Suite 618
Brooklyn, NY 11201
T: 718.834.6671 F: 718.834.6681
Be sure to include the following information in your request for mediation:
- Parent name, address and phone numbers
- Student’s name, date of birth and school
- A description of the problem and some possible solutions
Click here to download the New York Peace Institute Manual of Guidelines and Procedures on Special Education Mediation.
Click here to download the New York Peace Institute Manual of Guidelines and Procedures on Special Education Mediation En Español.