The purpose of this memorandum is to inform school personnel about the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Special Education Unit's use of mediation consultation services in instances where parents request a due process hearing but choose not to participate in mediation.
Pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. '300.506(d), the ADE is authorized to establish procedures to require parents who choose not to use the mediation process to meet, at a time and location convenient to the parents, with a disinterested party [as defined in §300.506(d)], for the purpose of being given an explanation of the benefits of mediation and encouragement to use the process. It should be noted, however, that the ADE may not delay or deny a parent's right to a due process hearing if the parent fails to participate in such a meeting.
The Department has elected to establish such procedures by contracting with the Parent Training and Information (PTI) Centers located within the state to provide mediation consultation services. Each PTI will provide mediation consultation services to parents residing outside the Center's catchment area who have chosen not to participate in mediation in an attempt to resolve their dispute with the school district.
It is important to note that school districts have no duty to act under this policy. Mediation consultation services will be initiated by the Department in consultation with the PTI involved.
If you have any questions, contact the individual listed above.