When would I make a request for mediation?
Anytime you have a serious disagreement about the identification, evaluation, placement or your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the school is not working toward a resolution, you may want to request mediation. In mediation, you and school personnel sit down with an impartial third person (the mediator) to discuss the areas of disagreement. The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement and typically does not lead to an admission of wrongdoing by the school. Mediation is voluntary and both parties must agree to meet with a mediator. There are benefits to mediation, both for you and for the school. One of the chief benefits is that mediation allows you and the school to state your concerns and work together to reach a solution that focuses on the needs of the student and is acceptable to both you and the school. Mediation can resolve disputes quickly and without the need for a costly and adversarial hearing.
The Ohio Department of Education has a form you can use to request mediation, or you can use the sample letter below.
Date (include month, day, and year)
Ohio Department of Education
Office of Exceptional Children
Procedural Safeguards Section
25 South Front Street, 2nd Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-4183
Dear Director of Procedural Safeguards:
My (son/daughter), (child's name), currently attends (name of school) and is in the (number of grade) grade in (teacher's name) class. I am writing to inform you that the school and I are in disagreement concerning (briefly state what the disagreement is about). We have been unsuccessful in resolving this dispute, and I am requesting that the Ohio Department of Education provide mediation so that we may resolve our differences.
I would like the mediation to be held as soon as possible. Please let me know when this can be arranged. My daytime telephone number is (give your phone number). Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
City, State, Zip Code
Daytime telephone number
cc: your child's principal; your child's teacher
Note: If you want to request a particular mediator, you may also want to put in a sentence after the first sentence of the second paragraph that states: "I would like to request that (name of particular mediator) be assigned to mediate my case, if the district has no objection."