Post Content

A child’s education is important to their happiness and success in life. Children with disabilities can excel in school with the right support and services. However, when school staff and parents differ about the educational needs of a student with disabilities, there may be a need to further discuss these matters. Either side can request Special Education Mediation, which is a voluntary process led by a mediator who helps the parents and teachers of a child with disabilities come to an agreement on their educational needs. Under federal law, what is said during mediation is confidential. The program is a free service offered by the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA).

Preparing for Mediation

Planning ahead for mediation can help you better understand your view point and keep track of your goals. Before you attend the session, there are some important tasks that need to be completed.

  • Outline what you want for the student.
  • List solutions to help settle the dispute.
  • Go in with an open mind about the give-and-take of mediation.
  • Decide if you want to bring someone to assist you during the mediation, such as a special education advocate.

What to Expect in Mediation

On the day of the special education mediation, the arbitrator can help guide the discussion but does not make decisions. While mediation can last anywhere from 2 hours to one day, the process is usually divided into three stages.

  1. Preliminary Stage: The mediator will clarify their role in the process, including their abilities to listen and pose solutions and suggestions to the parties involved. They will also emphasize the importance of examining current and future needs rather than information from the past.
  2. Discussion: Both parties will be given the chance to explain their concerns and research options. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, the mediator will clarify statements from both parties and give occasional summaries.
  3. Closure: Once the two groups reach a decision, the mediator will outline what is expected of both parties and specifics of how to make the process work. The parents and educators will sign the agreement and receive copies. However, if they are unable to reach an agreement, the mediators will pose alternatives.

Mediation can resolve matters without a hearing or going to court. It is an informal, yet positive way of working together to improve a child’s education and ensure that all their needs are met. To find out more about mediation or about the mediator assigned to you, contact the BSEA Coordinator of Mediation at (617) 626-7291.

Comment below or tweet us @MassGov.

Written By:

Tags: , , ,

Recent Posts

Safe Toys and Gifts for Children posted on Dec 1

Safe Toys and Gifts for Children

Children love receiving gifts and presents year-round, and the excitement that comes from unwrapping a gift can fill a house with joy. While toys are meant to be fun and entertaining, they can pose several safety risks. In 2014 there were approximately 251,800 toy-related injuries,   …Continue Reading Safe Toys and Gifts for Children

Hurricane Preparedness: Be Ready Before the Storm posted on Jul 18

Hurricane Preparedness: Be Ready Before the Storm

This is a guest blog post from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Governor Baker has proclaimed July 16–22, 2017 to be Hurricane Preparedness Week to underscore the Commonwealth’s vulnerability to tropical storms and hurricanes. Historically, the majority of tropical storms and hurricanes that have   …Continue Reading Hurricane Preparedness: Be Ready Before the Storm

Celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts posted on Jun 22

Celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts

As the state where the Boston Tea Party, Battle of Bunker Hill, and first shots of the American Revolution happened, Massachusetts is a special place to celebrate the 4th of July. Whether you’re looking for a free event for the family or a way to give back to America’s   …Continue Reading Celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts