Mediation is a process that involves an impartial third person, a mediator, who helps parents and school districts resolve their disputes. Examples of disputes could be eligibility, placement or FAPE (free and appropriate education) issues.
The mediator may help the participants identify and clarify issues, as well as create options for resolution. Mediation generally ends with a written agreement among the participants.
Mediation can save time and money and can create a more long lasting agreement. Participants are generally more satisfied with solutions that have been mutually agreed upon, rather than solutions that are ordered in due process or by a complaint investigator or a judge.
Mediated agreements can be more creative due to people working together to generate solutions.
Since mediated agreements tend to hold up over time, if a later dispute results, participants are more likely to use mediation again to resolve their differences rather than an adversarial approach.
Agreements that have been mediated may help to repair or maintain relationships. Because the participants have come to a joint solution, they may be more committed to working together in the future.
Mediation is free to all participants. WSEMS will pay the mediator with grant funds from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Unlike IEP facilitation where there is a maximum of three hours to spend with the participants, there is no limit on the amount of time in mediation, however one of the mediator’s goals is to help people move forward in a constructive, effective, timely, and productive way.