Special Education Mediation (511 IAC 7-45-2)
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
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;
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.