§ 16.64. Mediation.

 (a)  Mediation is a process in which parents and agencies involved in a special education for gifted students dispute may obtain the assistance of an impartial mediator in attempting to reach a mutually agreeable settlement.

 (b)  The following words and terms, when used in this section, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Joint session—A stage of the mediation conference when the mediator meets with the parties and participants together and each party is given a reasonable uninterrupted opportunity to present the issues and concerns.

   Mediation agreement—A written record of agreement reached by the parties.

   Mediation conference—A structured, but informal meeting of the parties and participants with a mediator. The purpose of the conference is to develop a mutually acceptable, written agreement that is binding on the parties.

   Mediator—An impartial, neutral person who helps parties involved in a conflict to develop their own solutions to the dispute. The term does not include a person who makes decisions about the conflict for the parties.

   Participants—Other persons appearing at the mediation conference on behalf of either party, such as other family members and specialists.

   Parties—The parents and designated agency personnel involved in the conflict.

   Private session (caucus)—A private meeting between the mediator and only one of the parties to further clarify that party’s position and to explore possible solutions to the conflict. The mediator may not share information from the private session without consent of the party.

 (c)  If a dispute is resolved through mediation, a written agreement shall be prepared and placed in the child’s education record. The agreement shall also be incorporated into the GIEP.

 (d)  During a mediation conference, the mediator shall meet with the parties together in a joint session and individually in private sessions.

 (e)  Discussions occurring during the mediation session shall be confidential, and no part of the mediation conference shall be recorded.

 (f)  The mediator may not be called as a witness in future proceedings.

 (g)  The designated agency involved in the dispute shall send a representative who has the authority to commit resources to the resolution agreed upon by the parties.

 (h)  The written mediation agreement is not a confidential document and shall be incorporated into the student’s GIEP and is binding on the parties.

 (i)  The mediation agreement shall be enforceable by the Department.

 (j)  A GIEP team shall be convened, within 10 school days following the mediation agreement, to incorporate the mediation agreement into the GIEP.

 (k)  When the mediation conference results in a resolution of the dispute, each party shall receive an executed copy of the agreement at the conclusion of the mediation conference.

 (l)  Mediation may not be used to deny or delay a party’s right to a due process hearing.

Cross References

   This section cited in 22 Pa. Code §  16.31 (relating to general); and 22 Pa. Code §  16.32 (relating to GIEP).

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