Mediation Begins

Mediation meetings are very formal. A professional mediator (who knew there was such a thing?), who is neutral to all parties, is assigned to facilitate the meeting and ensure all parties are given fair and equal treatment. Before the meeting discussions begin, the mediator reads the rules of the meeting which state no one is allowed to speak unless you have been given the floor. In addition, no one is allowed to raise their voice above normal speaking tones, curse, etc. All parties are required to sign official, legal, documents that state you understand and agree to follow the rules.

The meeting opens with the mediator reading the formal, written complaint, and provides all parties with copies of any supporting documentation (trust me I submitted plenty)  then, the party that submitted the complaint, in this case, me, is given the floor to elaborate on the complaint. The meetings are recorded and documented in writing. This is done in case an agreement can’t be reached by all parties in the mediation meeting and the case needs to go before a Judge in court.

With all the documentation I provided to support my case, which clearly demonstrated the school and the district failed to adhere to the IEP as written, the school and district had no choice but to agree they were in the wrong and agreed to make the corrections immediately. In addition, they agreed to make an addendum to the IEP stating the assistant would no longer run the brailling machine, the Braille Specialist, Mr. B, would be responsible for providing quality checks on all the braille Shantel receives, and Shantel would be allowed all the time she needed to catch up on the work without being penalized for turning her work in late. So, because the school and district failed to do their jobs, Shantel ended up with a more supportive IEP than she had before. All of this was documented by the mediator and became legal and binding. What a score!

At the end of the meeting I was given the floor to make closing comments since I filed the complaint. I told the group I was satisfied with the results of this mediation meeting but I was amazed and disappointed, especially as a tax payer, of how far I had to go, spending tax payer’s dollars, to get the school and the district to do their jobs and support the IEP they wrote and we all signed. I reminded them that the IEP clearly states “Shantel is to have her braille assignments, without errors, at the same time as her sighted peers OR if for some reason that can’t be accomplished, she is to be given an alternative assignment worth the same amount of credits, ie, read from her braille books and write a report, do an assignment from her already brailled text books, etc.”  I asked them to help me understand what part of that is so difficult to comprehend and support?  I reminded them if the IEP had simply been followed, I wouldn’t have been forced to make such a bold stand, mediation wouldn’t have been necessary, and tax payer’s dollars wouldn’t have been wasted. No one offered any comments, so the mediator called the meeting to a close.

Next: Supporting The Mediation Agreement or NOT!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John Kirnberger
    Mar 18, 2012 @ 19:33:39

    I just knew with all your experience with what you had to go through with Shantel from the very get go they never had a chance! I think that sometimes the administrations think because they say they did everything right that a person would just roll over! They sure didn’t know what they were getting into with you for sure! You are just to cool and level headed to get rattled. Love ya Sis.


  2. Megs
    Mar 18, 2012 @ 20:00:35

    Shantel is very lucky to have such a strong and confident mother who won’t let important things go. Very behind on reading your blog. Just finished going through 250 emails. Life will hopefully slow down soon so I can be more faithful on reading the blogs in a timely manner. Love you!!


  3. gotham girl
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 02:30:19

    Every day I’m in awe and amazed of your spirit! xoxo


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