Either you as a parent or your advocate or attorney have filed for due process against the school district, and now you have gotten a notice from the school district requesting you attend a resolution session. There are a few things you should know, and a few tips regarding resolution session.
First, the resolution session must be held within 15 days of the filing of a due process complaint. If the school district does not extend an invitation to resolution session within those 15 days and does not provide an answer to the complaint, most likely they have waived the resolution session. If you have an attorney or an advocate, you must let them know that the school district has sent you this notice. Many times school districts will only send the notice to parents and not to their representation, so make sure you contact your representation and ensure they know about the meeting. Second, you may be asking if you can skip the meeting altogether? You can mutually waive resolution session, but only if both the school district and parent agree to waive it. If the school district wishes to move forward with resolution session, then you must attend or the school district can move to dismiss your case. This is a matter of federal law, and is extremely important as your case will be dismissed without addressing its merits.
It is also important to realize that, unless you sign some sort of confidentiality agreement, nothing you say in resolution session is confidential. This is unlike the mediation session in due process matters, where the entire proceeding is confidential. As such, if you do attend a resolution session and the school district does not wish to make it confidential, be extremely careful about what is discussed as statements might be used against you later if the matter proceeds to a due process hearing.
It is also important to note that settlement at resolution session is not mandatory, and you can use resolution session as a way to simply see what the other side is willing to give or take. School districts will frequently use the resolution session as a means to simply ask questions and try to elicit more information, and parents can do the same. Remember, it is not mandatory to sign any settlement agreement, and if you as a parent feel threatened or bullied, it is permissible to simply end the resolution session without an outcome. Again, note that if the proceedings are not made confidential, then what is said can be used later.
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