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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
  • 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.
  • Qualified Special Education Mediators