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Family & Educational Mediation

Columbia Special Education Mediation Attorney

The ever changing political and ethical climate in the US undoubtedly changes the educational climate as well. Unfortunately, teachers, principals, and families do not always agree with decisions made about a child’s education. Parents must sometimes advocate for their children when there is an educational dispute. Amy Salladay, our Columbia family law attorney, at Columbia Family Law Group, LLC provides mediation to resolve disputes between parents and schools. She is designated as a qualified mediator through Missouri’s Department of Secondary and Elementary Education.

The goal of mediation is to help parents and schools come to a resolution regarding the educational dispute at hand. The mediator does not decide the outcome of the dispute but is there to help facilitate a settlement between the parties. With the guidance provided by Amy Salladay, you can be confident that they have a knowledgeable and experienced advocate at their side.

Contact our team at (573) 662-4514.

What You Need to Know About Educational Mediation

Mediation is a problem-solving process that is completely confidential. Under IDEA 2004, discussions that occur during the mediation process shall be confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding. The parties to the mediation process may be required to sign a confidentiality pledge prior to the commencement of the process.

There are a few things that parents should know before the mediation process begins:

  • Parents do not have to have an attorney to mediate. However, you may have an attorney or parent advocate present during the process. You may also wish to speak with an attorney before you come to mediation so that you understand all your legal rights and options. (This may be particularly helpful should you come to mediation without an attorney. The law specifically states that schools may not include an attorney unless the parent is also accompanied by an attorney.)
  • If you reach an agreement, it is usually considered a contract. Should either party breach the contract then the prevailing party may be entitled to attorney’s fees later in court.
  • If you reach an agreement in mediation, then it should be set forth in a written mediation agreement.
  • IDEA 2004 provides that mediation must be voluntary, is not used to deny or delay your right to a due process hearing. It must be conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is trained in effective mediation techniques.
  • Pursuant to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidelines all meditations must be conducted within thirty days of the parties agreeing to mediate. Further, all meditations must be scheduled within fifteen days of the mediator being selected for a time and place mutually acceptable to all parties.

Special Education: K-12 Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities often struggle to obtain the appropriate public education necessary to maximize their individual potential. Both parents and schools can be misinformed, uneducated, and frustrated with this process. Many parents do not know how to navigate the system, and they fear retaliation by the school for challenging the constitutional due process rights children are provided under federal law. Many educators are unsure of what the law is. The system is complicated and information regarding this process is hard to find.

Requesting an IEP or 504 Plan and working through this process requires having someone who is knowledgeable about the rights provided for under federal law and then is aggressive in helping you pursue and defend those rights. Amy is well-versed with respect to many of the disabilities that affect our children today. She understands your struggle and can work with psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors to better advocate for your children. Amy can help you request specific accommodations to help your child be successful at school. She can also advise you on the process and give you tips so that you can better navigate this system as a parent of a child with special needs.

Developing and defending an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan can be challenging. Our Columbia mediation attorney works collaboratively with parents, advocates, and other involved entities to successfully resolve conflicts and develop IEPs that satisfy the needs of each student, their parents, and educators. Amy can meet with you to explain to you your rights and/or refer you to a parent advocate, parent support person who can attend these meetings with you.

If these processes fail, Amy is a fierce advocate. She can handle due process, and child complaints on your behalf before the Administrative Hearing Commission.

Request a Consultation: (573) 662-4514

When you need an impartial yet highly-qualified Columbia mediation attorney who will advocate for your child and your family, our team is here for you. Amy Salladay provides educated and experienced legal counsel and knows parent’s rights regarding education.

Amy Salladay’s mediation fees are $200 per hour and mediation sessions are generally scheduled in two-hour blocks. Unless otherwise instructed each party should bring $200 to the mediation and be prepared to pay in advance of the mediation session. If you are mediating under IDEA 2004 then the school will bear the entire cost of the mediation session. Amy also asks that both parties submit a written summary of the dispute before the mediation. This can be hand written, typed, or emailed to Amy in advance of each mediation session.

If you would like more information about mediation, please contact our office at (573) 662-4514 with your questions.

Our Dedicated Team

Meet the experienced Attorneys that make Columbia Law Group

Our Qualifications:

Why You Should Choose Us

  1. Over 35 years combined experience
  2. Extensive experience handling family law issues
  3. Not afraid to take on large and small cases alike
  4. Two certified mediators & two court-appointed guardians
  5. Can settle legal complications effectively outside of court or aggressively litigate on your behalf in a court of law
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