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Special education mediation is a voluntary process in which parents of students with disabilities and school district personnel meet with a specially trained, impartial individual (i.e., a mediator) to work out differences in a collaborative way. The school district must make mediation available to allow the parent and the school district to resolve disputes that may arise relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to a student with a disability or a student suspected of having a disability. Because mediation is voluntary, both the school district and the parent must agree to participate in the process. The mediator, who is trained in effective mediation techniques, helps the participants listen to each other’s views and then assists in developing mutually satisfactory solutions.

Although mediation cannot guarantee specific results, the mediation process has demonstrated several benefits. Mediation can be a less expensive and less time-consuming method of dispute resolution compared to due process hearings. Because mediation is voluntary and the parties have the flexibility to devise their own solutions, mediation may result in written agreements where parties have an increased commitment to, and ownership of, the agreement. The written, signed agreement is enforceable in any State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States.

Mediation is arranged through the school district with a Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC). To determine the closest CDRC, please see the New York State Unified Court System's list of local Community Dispute Resolution Centers.

Helping Parents and School Districts Become More Effective Partners – Special Education Mediation is a questions and answers document that clarifies the mediation process. This document provides information on how parents and school districts can use mediation to work together to resolve special education issues in a collaborative way.

Request for Special Education Mediation (Model Form)

This model form may be used to request special education mediation. Use of this form is not required but will assist you in understanding the issues in dispute and the proposed resolution.

Mediation offers parents and school districts an opportunity to resolve disagreements about any matter relating to the education of a student with a disability or who is suspected of having a disability. You can request mediation from your school district at any time. Mediation does not diminish or limit the rights of a parent, including the right to request an impartial hearing.

A request for mediation must be submitted to the Committee on Special Education (CSE) or Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) or to your school district. Mediation requests should not be sent to the New York State Education Department. Questions concerning your specific mediation request should be directed to your school district.

Completing the form:

  1. Right click on the form and click "Save link as..."
  2. Save to a location on your computer.
  3. Open the saved form and complete it.
  4. Save a final version of the form to your computer after it is completed.
  5. Print the form and submit to the CSE or CPSE or to your school district.

If you have difficulty completing the mediation request form using your web browser, you may download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to enable all of the form’s fillable fields to properly function. The form may also be printed out and completed manually.

Questions regarding the use of this form or the mediation process may be directed to the Special Education Due Process Unit at (518) 473-0170 or