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IEP/School District Mediation
California law requires schools to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for all children with disabilities. Failure to create a program that attends to the child’s unique needs means the school is in violation of the law and gives ground for legal action.
Disputes can arise when parents disagree with the school district over matters concerning their child’s special education program. If you think the school is not complying with the law, there are ways to resolve a disagreement. Parents may try mediation to resolve a dispute.
If you are contending with an IEP issue, call Kanter Ostler Mediation today at (619) 304-2244 to discuss your case with an experienced IEP mediatior.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives children with disabilities the right to a free and suitable public education. Disagreements occasionally develop between parents and school officials over what benefits and placement the program should provide for the child. As a procedural safeguard, Congress added mediation to help resolve disputes between parents and schools.
You must be informed by the school district before changes are made to the services it provides your child. The district must let you know if it turns down any requests, wants to change your child’s disability classification, or wants to perform an evaluation. No changes can be made until you and the school are able to work out possible disagreements in a meeting.
At this point, the dispute resolution process offered by each school district comes into play.
Trying to settle your differences without the presence of a third party is generally considered an informal way of dispute resolution. You as a parent can request an IEP meeting at any time to try and sort out your differences with the district.
When informal resolution fails to produce favorable results, IDEA offers parents several other options.
- Filing a Compliance Complaint (§300.153) with the California Department of Education requesting an investigation
- State mediation (covered under IDEA Part B §300.506). The request is made with the California Office of Administrative Hearings, Special Education Unit.
- Filing a due process complaint. This formal proceeding is held in a trial-like environment. Hearings can last many days so much preparation is required. A judge makes a final decision.
IEP mediation as an option
California parents can opt for mediation when they have a dispute with a school’s individualized education program. This is different than the informal dispute resolution action offered by the school district which gives less than ideal results. Mediation is the first step in the official due process complaint procedure to resolve IEP disputes.
Both parent and school representatives sit down in mediation to discuss problems and solutions. The parties can then create the settlement terms and conditions when the issue is successfully resolved. Settlements reached through mediation are rarely breached. The parties are completely involved and invested emotionally in the success of the agreement. The results are generally better than in a lawsuit.
Contact Kanter Ostler Mediation & Dispute Resolution
If you believe your child’s rights are being violated, or you are being misinformed, call our office to learn about your rights and to get advice on taking the next steps. We will answer your questions, examine the details of your case and recommend the best course of action.
Contact us if you are a parent contending with your child’s special education issue. Call Kanter Ostler Mediation today at (619) 304-2244 to discuss your case with our experienced IEP mediatior.