1. Peer Mediation/Restorative Justice Program Peer mediation involves training students to become mediators and problem solve student to student conflict. The student mediators are trained to be neutral third parties who resolved conflict in a positive manner. Restorative Justice is based on a philosophy of “repairing harm” through accountability, instead of “taking punishment.” The process addresses significant misbehavior and situations where there is a clear victim and offender. Issues which arise between parents of students with disabilities and school personnel are often challenging and emotional. Although everyone wants the best educational program for each student, not everyone always agrees on what is best. The Dispute Resolution Center offers the following services to parents and schools, free of charge:
2. Special Education Services
Issues which arise between parents of students with disabilities and school personnel are often challenging and emotional. Although everyone wants the best educational program for each student, not everyone always agrees on what is best. The Dispute Resolution Center offers the following services to parents and schools, free of charge: a.) Mediation The Michigan Special Education Mediation Program (MSEMP) provides parents and schools with Special Education Dispute Resolution services free of charge in every county throughout Michigan. Common disputes mediated include: evaluation, eligibility for services, educational programs, placement, disciplinary issues, procedural safeguards and other matters that may interfere with the successful delivery of Special Education Services. Mediation is voluntary, confidential, and can result in a written, signed agreement that may be incorporated into an Individualized Educational Program (IEP), or an Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP). b.) Facilitation Neutral facilitators can help parents and schools work together to plan for students with special needs. Facilitation is used for IFSP, IEP and Resolution Meetings. Facilitators can organize meetings so participants can focus on the issues, contribute ideas and work toward solutions. Facilitation ensures that meetings stay student-focused, clarify points of agreement and disagreement, model effective communication and listening, support all parties in participating fully, and encourage parents and schools to identify new options to address unresolved problems.
3. School Attendance
The purpose of the School Attendance Mediation Program (formerly known as Truancy Prevention Mediation Program) is to address a student’s high occurrence of unexcused absences in a supportive, non-punitive way. With the help of a mediator -- who acts as a neutral third party -- families and school staff will meet in a confidential and private setting to identify the issues that become barriers to consistent school attendance. Once these barriers are identified, everyone will work together to identify a solution. The mediator will not take sides or decide who is right or wrong. The DRC has partnered with schools in the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor districts to provide this service at NO COST to the families or district. This service is supported by private donors and a grant award from the James A. and Faith Knight Foundation.