What is mediation?
- 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.
- The assigned mediator will work as a neutral party to help resolve ongoing issues related to special education rules.
- 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 or a complaint.
What is a written mediation agreement?
- If the parties resolve a dispute through the mediation process, the parties must execute a written agreement that sets forth the parties’ resolution.
- 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 Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) state complaint process or in federal or state court.
Who may request a mediation?
- A request for mediation may be initiated by the parent or the school.
- While either party may initiate the request for a mediation, a mediator will not be assigned until both parties agree in writing to participate.
How can I request a mediation?
- To request a mediation electronically, please use I-CHAMP.
- The request for a mediation can also be printed with a handwritten signature and submitted to IDOE. Click here for a sample mediation request.
- A written request for mediation not submitted using I-CHAMP or the sample mediation request should include similar components. Please see the sample mediation request.
- The mediation process cannot begin unless both parties agree to participate.
- A copy may be submitted using I-CHAMP, in person, by mail, or via fax.
What can a mediation resolve?
- A disagreement from the Case Conference Committee (CCC) meeting regarding:
- A student's identification or eligibility for services;
- The appropriateness of the educational evaluation, level of services, or placement; or
- Anything else affecting the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE);
- A disagreement about the reimbursement for services obtained by the parent(s);
- A complaint; or
- A hearing.
When will a mediation occur?
- Once assigned to a mediator, IDOE Office of Special Education (OSE) expects mediation to occur within 30 calendar days.
- If the school and the parent agree to engage in mediation to resolve a complaint, then the mediation must be completed within 20 calendar days of the date the parties agree in writing to engage in mediation.
Who serves as mediators?
- Persons who serve as mediators:
- Are trained in effective mediation techniques;
- Have no personal or professional conflict of interest regarding the parties;
- Are impartial;
- Have knowledge of laws and regulations relating to the provision of special education and related services;
- Are qualified as determined by the Office of Special Education; and
- Are not employees of IDOE or the school that is involved in the education or care of the student.
- Mediators are assigned on a rotation basis.