Mediation is a free and effective process to assist parents and schools in resolving disagreements. Mediation is a voluntary process in which parties meet with a neutral third party for the opportunity to resolve a special education dispute. Mediation is available at any time parties are unable or are struggling to resolve an educational dispute. Parties interested in mediation may download a Parent or School district request for mediation. The parent must also sign consent for release of information to accompany the request. SERC will notify the other party of the request. After both parties have voluntarily agreed to mediation of the issues, then a highly trained mediator will be assigned.
When disputes regarding special education cannot be resolved, a party may participate in a due process hearing. Special rules are in place for conducting the hearing process. Hearing officers are assigned at the time of filing for a hearing. The hearing officer, in the beginning, checks to make sure that the parties are meeting their responsibilities during the first thirty days. During the first thirty days, the parties are in a settlement period. Services are offered by SERC to the parent and school to help the parties resolve their dispute. If the entire dispute cannot be resolved, then the unresolved issues move forward to a hearing.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), Special Education Services (SES), and local educational agencies (LEA) have procedures for filing and resolving specific written complaints regarding alleged violations of the requirements under Part B of the IDEA. The complaint must be written and include a statement that the LEA has violated a requirement under IDEA, Part B, the facts on which the statement is based; and the signature of the person(s) filing the complaint.