Can be an effective
way to work to resolve differences and work through disagreements between
parties. Mediation means you have a meeting with a neutral
third party person,
to chair the meeting.
Mediation can be requested for
a number of reasons:
1. If there is a disagreement:
2. If you rejected your child's IEP in
full or in part
- About eligibility, placement or implementation of the
- About evaluating your child's or funding an outside
- About child's 504 Accommodation Plan
- Between the parents and the school district regarding
the student's special education needs
- Between the PAC and school special education policies
- Between any parities
What is Mediation?
is voluntary for both the parents and the school.
Both parties must agree, in order
to have a mediation session.
If both parties agree to go mediation,
it is worth a try.
Mediation is more informal
than a hearing. Attorneys
are not needed at mediation and parties speak for themselves. At a hearing attorneys are
present and speak for the participants. Making
mediation less intimidating to parents.
Mediation is timely in two ways, it is
usually scheduled within 30
calendar days after parents and educators agree to mediate. A
session runs 2-5 hours long, whereas a hearing is 1-3 days.
generally occurs before a hearing and does not delay the
Mediation is confidential; discussions that occur during the
mediation process are not to be used in hearing. There is no audio, video or any written
record of the mediation session other than the written, signed
The mediator helps parents and school
personnel clarify the issues and underlying concerns, explore
discuss options and reach an agreement.
Mediators do not make decisions
how to resolve the issues. That is left up to the Team (parents,
student, and school personnel).
If an agreement can be reached, the
mediator will put it in writing. Both parties leave with a copy.
Where does mediation take place?
sessions take place somewhere
within the school district (i.e. admin. building, school, town hall,
etc.), at a mutually convenient date and time.
Who can request
Parents, guardians, educational
surrogate parents, students 18 or older, representatives of the school
district, advocates or attorneys.
Who attends mediation?
Parents, support person(s) of the parent(s), special education
director, and school staff who know the student, and or the district's
How will the mediation session be structured?
|[Additional Joint session]
|Final Joint session
The party that called BSEA and
mediation, is the party that speaks first.
You can not interrupt, or ask questions until your they have finished
12 Tips from parents
for preparing for
1. Schedule the mediation as soon as possible.
2. Plan to bring your spouse,
evaluators, or anyone else who can support your position (Do not go
3. Make sure you find out ahead of time, who
the school plans to invited to attend the mediation.
4. Make or update your child's
notebook, to organize your files, include: IEP (current and last
signed), evaluations reports, work examples.
5. Have a book with copies of the Mass. and Federal special education
regulations (Mediators are not required to know the special
education laws/regulations.) All
your information should be mark (e.g.
post-it-notes), so you
can readily pull out or refer any information as needed.
6. Have multiple copies of the most
important documents, and any regulations you want to reference.
7. Be prepared to answer three
general questions, for the mediator:
Tell me about your
2. Why are you here?
3. How can we move forward from here into the future?
8. Write a brief summary about your
background (when your child was diagnose and by who, how
disability effects your child, current issue). Each of these
questions should be no
longer then 1-2 paragraph statement. Be as factual as possible, stay with what
the disagreement is about
said, she said", or pass problems). Bring a photograph of
your child; it helps to remind
everyone of child being
9. Have documentation on any costs
that may be involved. (i.e. out-of-district tutions, tutor,
therapist, aide, camp, transportation, etc.).
10. Decide if mediation does not work, what your next step.
(Before filling out the paper work
hearing it is highly recommend you consult an attorney).
11. Mediation can be terminated at any time, during the
mediation, by either party (i.e. if it is getting too negative, or not
moving in a productive direction.)
12. Try to get 8 hours of sleep, the night before.
If you have been to mediation,
in the past, and you did not find the
mediator to be very effective, you can request a different mediator (It
does not have to always be the same mediator each time or the one
assigned to your district).
For more information, see the
Department of Education website:
For more information about
mediation or to receive the name and telephone number of the mediator assigned
to your region,
contact the BSEA Director of Mediation, Marc Sevigny: 617-626-7291
Department main number BSEA Direct Phone: (617)
(Moved from Malden to Boston
on June 30, 2012)
Bureau Of Special Education Appeals (BSEA)
One Congress St., 11th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
BSEA Fax: 617-626-7270