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Dispute Resolution Project

We encourage culturally diverse families to contact PACER staff if they would like assistance to better understand their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). PACER can help make sure the child is receiving appropriate services, provide assistance at a school meeting, address behavior or truancy issues, or resolve disagreements with the school.

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Dispute Resolution Project Overview

Helping your child with disabilities receive an appropriate education is one of the most important jobs you have as a parent. You and your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team may or may not agree on everything. Disputes and disagreements do occur.

This Web site can help you learn how to manage those disputes in a positive, productive way. Use the information here to increase:

  • knowledge of your special education rights and responsibilities
  • understanding of educational planning and your child’s IEP
  • communication, self-advocacy, and conflict resolution skills
  • awareness of conflict resolution options and how to use them
  • ability to advocate for your child

Having these skills will help you keep your eyes on the prize: an appropriate education for your child.

Video series in Hmong, Somali and Spanish

Help Your Child with a Disability Succeed in School

Parent are the experts on their children and have valuable information to share with the schools about them. Research shows that when culturally and linguistically diverse parents share information with school staff, it leads to better outcomes in educational programming for the child.

Talking with the School about My Child

Your child needs you to advocate for him or her. Tips on how to communicate with the school about your child and their needs are covered in this presentation.

What’s New?

Updates to Minnesota’s Due Process Options

Look for updates to the Minnesota Due Process Options – along with highlights of what Parents Need to Know – on the Due Process Options page.

Pacesetter Article: Creative approach to mediation helps one family resolve a special education dispute

When disputes arise between a parent and a school district, mediation is not unusual. It is rare, however, for a young child to be directly involved in the process, as was the case with Susan, a mom from Minnesota whose 13-year-old son Bradley was at the table when an agreement was reached about his Individualized Education Program (IEP). “I really wanted Bradley to see how many people cared about him and how hard we were all working to resolve things,” said Susan.

After usual efforts to reach an agreement among members of the IEP team have been exhausted, mediation is one of the voluntary dispute resolution options available to families. In mediation, a neutral third party provided by the state helps parents and their child’s school district resolve disputes over identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). At least one parent and a district staff person with authority to resolve the dispute (usually the special education director) must attend the conference. …

Read the full article (page 4)

Checklist : Preparing for and Attending Mediation

Also available in:

A Creative Approach to Mediation in the Pacesetter Fall 2014 Edition

After usual efforts to reach an agreement among members of the IEP team have been exhausted, mediation is one of the voluntary dispute resolution options available to families. This article takes a look at one family's creative approach at resolving a special education dispute.
pdf from pacesetter winter 2011 edition Read More >>>

Conciliation Article in the Pacesetter Summer 2013 Edition

Conciliation offers families a practical way to resolve special education differences.
pdf from pacesetter winter 2011 edition Read More >>>

Dispute Resolution Article in the Pacesetter Winter 2011 Edition

New checklist aids parents in filing state special education complaint .
pdf from pacesetter winter 2011 edition Read More >>>

Watch Archived Webinars:

student smiling with graduation robe on and diploma in hand

Resolving Disagreements Through the Special Education Process

Description: This on-line workshop is designed to provide participants the options and outcomes of dispute resolution. Communication strategies and problem-solving tips will be included to increase participants’ knowledge about dispute resolution.

Register to watch Webinar

Six Skills for Effective Parent Advocacy

This free webinar will explore six skills Minnesota parents can use to become more effective advocates for their child with a disability. Find out why it is important to understand your child’s disability, know your school district, know your rights and responsibilities, effective communication and what your dispute resolution options are.

Register to watch Webinar

Step by Step
School Discipline Guide

Parents of children with disabilities often ask:

  • Can the school send my child home before the end of the school day?
  • Can the school district suspend my child?
  • Can the school district expel my child?
  • What happens to my child’s educational services if he or she is sent home, suspended, or expelled?

This interactive guide will answer these and many other questions. Whether your child is on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a Section 504 Plan, or if you suspect that your child has a disability that affects his or her behavior at school, this guide will help you understand the complex disciplinary process for Minnesota public school children with disabilities.

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