What is a Resolution Meeting in Special Education?
A resolution meeting ("resolution session" or "early resolution conference") is a meeting between the child's parents and school district staff following the filing of a request for due process hearing. This meeting is meant to facilitate a discussion regarding parents' concerns about their child's educational program and give the school district an opportunity to ask questions about parents' allegations and understand what remedies parents are seeking.
What is the Timeline for Holding a Resolution Session?
California education law requires that this meeting occur within 15 calendar days after parents have filed a request for due process hearing. However, the parties can agree to meet beyond the 15 calendar days.
What Happens if a Parent Does Not Attend a Special Education Resolution Meeting?
Parents and the school district can waive the resolution session in writing. But if it is not waived and the school district wants to hold a resolution meeting, parents must attend the meeting, If parents do not attend, the school district can file a motion to dismiss parents' request for due process hearing.
Who Attends a Special Education Resolution Meeting?
The child's parents will attend, of course. The child's parents may also bring other people with them, who may be able to provide helpful information, such as service providers or educational advocates. Parents may also bring an attorney. If parents bring an attorney with them, the school district will often times bring an attorney as well.
The staff representing the school district at a resolution session will typically include the school district's special education director, IEP team members who are familiar with the facts alleged in the request for due process hearing, and an attorney if parents have their own attorney at the meeting. Essentially, the special education director will bring whomever will help understand the parents' allegations and craft a response to the parents' settlement request.
Is the Special Education Resolution Meeting Confidential?
Not usually. This means that statements made by either side at the resolution session could be introduced as evidence at a subsequent due process hearing. However, parents and the school district can agree to make the resolution meeting confidential. This is increasingly becoming a common practice in San Diego.
How Can a San Diego Special Education Attorney Help at a Resolution Meeting?
While most parents have not previously attended a resolution meeting and are unfamiliar with what to expect from the process and how to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the school district, an experienced special education attorney has attended hundreds of these meetings (including mediation) and is intimately familiar with the negotiation process. And more often than not, this attorney will be familiar with the special education director (and other staff members) and the district's legal counsel.
Knowing how certain special education directors and their legal counsel negotiate special education cases can be extremely helpful to parents. First, this knowledge can give parents an understanding of what to expect at the resolution session, which can alleviate unneeded stress. Second, an experience special education attorney is familiar with the available remedial options within the school district as well as within the private special needs community.
Experienced San Diego Special Education Attorney
To speak with an experienced special education attorney, schedule a free consultation today. Paul will discuss the details of your situation and go over all the options available to you.