Page 1

arkansas special education mediation project

IMPROVING COMMUNICATION, PROMOTING UNDERSTANDING

WILLIAM H. BOWEN SCHOOL OF LAW


Check out the Bowen YouTube channel for more on mediation - Youtube.com/ualrbowenlaw

Special Education Mediation brings the pieces together and helps provide greater educational opportunity

parents

mediator teacher student


Special Education Mediation helps parents and educators communicate What is mediation?

Mediation is voluntary and confidential. Mediation offers parents and educators the chance to work with each other and address a child’s special education needs. Mediation helps people talk and work hard on the problem without being hard on the people. The focus is on working together to find a solution that is in the best interest of the student.

Who is a mediator?

A mediator is an open-minded, third party who does not take sides. A mediator helps the parties communicate, identify issues, discuss and understand different points of view, think of options and find a solution that is agreeable to all parties. The mediator does not make a decision for the parties like a judge or a due process hearing officer. A mediator will not give legal, financial or professional advice. The trained professional mediators in this program are familiar with the laws and policies affecting educational services for children with special needs.

Your child and special education services

Working out the details of an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) or other special education services can be hard. Sometimes parents and educators disagree on services needed or how the services are delivered. They may even disagree on whether an IEP is needed. People can become frustrated and lose sight of the real goal – achieving what is in the best interest of the student.

When should we mediate?

• When you have tried your best and cannot reach a resolution. • When you don’t want to give up or make things worse. • When you want a chance to be heard. • When you want to get past hurt feelings and focus on your child. • When you are willing to try something new.


How does mediation help?

• Improved communication • Better continuing relationships • Joint decision making • Agreements everyone supports • Children receive appropriate services in a timely manner

What could we lose through using mediation? • Nothing • Mediation is free • You still have the right to a due process hearing on unresolved IEP issues

How does mediation work?

• Parents or educators request a mediation. After everyone agrees to mediate, the mediation is scheduled. • The parties sign an agreement that the mediation process is confidential. What is discussed in mediation cannot be used in any future due process hearing or court proceedings. Audio recordings of the mediation are not allowed. • Information that was available before the mediation or may be obtained from another source is not confidential. The written agreement that is the result of the mediation may be shared with those educators who need the information to work with your child. • If a partial or full agreement is reached, the mediator writes the agreement using the parties’ own words, which state specifically who will do what and when. • All parties sign this agreement. • If parties to the mediation think a change is needed in the student’s IEP, that recommendation must be submitted to the IEP Team for approval. Only the team can change a student’s IEP. Mediations may qualify as an IEP meeting if the team is present. • The mediation program will follow up after three months with all parties.


ualr.edu/law/clinical-programs/mediation


Frequently Asked Questions About Mediation Does the mediator determine the outcome?

No. The role of a mediator is to encourage communication, not decide the issues.

Who pays for mediation?

There is no cost to parents or schools for mediation. This program is funded through a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education.

How do I know the school will follow through with the agreement?

All parties sign an agreement that reflects their commitment. The agreement is a contract that is binding on the parties to the mediation.

What if mediation does not work?

While studies show that mediation is often successful, in the event that the parties cannot agree, parents retain their full rights to a due process hearing and other administrative remedies.

Who attends a mediation?

Parents/guardians and school personnel who are needed to make decisions or have necessary information are included in the mediation.

Are mediations confidential?

Yes. Only the parties involved in the meetings will know what was said and may not share what was said outside the group. Discussion cannot be used in any future due process hearing or court proceedings. However, information that was available before the mediation or may be obtained from another source is not confidential. All participants will be given a copy of the written agreement and a copy will be placed in the student’s file. This agreement may be shared with those educators who need to know the information to work with the student.

How long will mediation take?

Mediation may take as long as the parties need to reach an agreement or decide an agreement is not possible. Mediations usually last two or three hours.

How do I request mediation?

School staff, educators, parents, or students over the age of 18 may request mediation. If communication has broken down or there is a problem that cannot be resolved, you may mail in or fax the attached form to: Arkansas Special Education Mediation Project UALR William H. Bowen School of Law 1201 McMath Avenue Little Rock, AR 72202 501.324.9939 501.324.9911 (fax) You may also find this form at ualr.edu/law/clinical-programs/request-for-mediation/ and fill it out online.


Request for Mediation By requesting mediation I understand : 1. The mediator is not providing any party with legal advice or understanding. 2. The mediator is not providing counseling or therapy services. 3. The mediation process may involve the mediator speaking privately to the parents and the school representatives. 4. The mediator will work with all of the parties to help develop an agreement. 5. Discussions during the mediation session will be confidential and may not be used during subsequent proceedings. 6. I may not call the mediator as a witness in any further proceeding pertaining to the child’s case. 7. The signed agreement may be shared with other educators working with the child. Name and title of requesting party: __________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________________________ Email: __________________________________________________________________________________ Telephone number(s): _____________________________________________________________________ Student’s name: __________________________________________________________________________ Date of birth: ____________________________________________________________________________ Grade: __________________________________________________________________________________ School: _________________________________________________________________________________ Parent’s name: __________________________________________________________________________ Telephone number(s): _____________________________________________________________________ Additional contact and phone number: _______________________________________________________ School contact: __________________________________________________________________________ School phone number: ____________________________________________________________________ Summary of issues to be discussed: ________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________

Please return this form by mail to: Arkansas Special Education Mediation Project UALR William H. Bowen School of Law 1201 McMath Little Rock, Arkansas 72202-5142 or fax to 501.324.9911

Form available at ualr.edu/law/clinical-programs/ request-for-mediation/


WILLIAM H. BOWEN SCHOOL OF LAW Arkansas Special Education Mediation Project 1201 McMath Avenue Little Rock, Arkansas 72202 ualr.edu/law/clinical-programs/mediation

Special Education Mediation  

The Arkansas Special Education Mediation Project (ASEMP) is different from other mediation programs in that it is not court-centered. The me...

Special Education Mediation  

The Arkansas Special Education Mediation Project (ASEMP) is different from other mediation programs in that it is not court-centered. The me...

Advertisement