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2. Give a public agency the option of providing parents and schools choosing not to use the mediation process the opportunity to meet with a disinterested party.

A public agency may establish procedures to offer to parents and schools that choose not to use the mediation process, an opportunity to meet, at a time and location convenient to the parents, with a disinterested party who is under contract with an appropriate alternative dispute resolution entity, or a parent training and information center or community parent resource center in the State established under sections 671 or 672 of the IDEA and who would explain the benefits of, and encourage the use of, the mediation process to the parents.
[34 CFR 300.506(b)(2)] [20 U.S.C. 1415(e)(2)(B)]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. Who is a “disinterested party”?

  2. How might a state begin to define a “disinterested party”?

  3. IDEA 04 provides that the LEA “offer”, not require, an opportunity for the parent or school to meet with a disinterested party (for example, a Parent Information Center) if either party chooses not to pursue mediation. In your view, what might be the differences in outcome between mediation and due process hearing?

  4. If an alternative organization is paid to provide mediation, how might this affect their ability to be a “disinterested party”? What are some examples of how different sources of payment might impact the process?

  5. Why might parents choose not to participate in mediation?

  6. Why might LEAs choose not to participate in mediation?

Application Questions

  1. What methods might be particularly successful in engaging parents in the mediation process?

  2. What methods might be particularly successful in engaging LEAs who routinely do not participate in mediation to consider the mediation process?

  3. Are there things the SEA can do in terms of qualifications of mediator, process of mediation, and training to ensure better outcomes?

  4. What information and assistance might families need from LEAs and schools to follow these procedures and meet all due process requirements, including resolution meetings, mediation, complaints, etc.?

    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: Teacher
    Location: West Virginia

    Role: Family Member
    Location: New Jersey

    Role: General Education Administrator
    Location: California

    Role: Higher Education
    Location: Indiana

    Role: Administrator
    Location: Illinois

    Role: Special Education Administrator
    Location: Kentucky

    Role: TA Provider
    Location: Oregon