State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_115C > GS_115C-109_4

§ 115C‑109.4. Mediation.

(a)        It is the policy ofthis State to encourage local educational agencies and parents to seekmediation involving any dispute under this Article, including matters arisingbefore or after filing a petition under G.S. 115C‑109.6.

(b)        Mediation underthis section must meet the following requirements:

(1)        The mediation mustbe voluntary on the part of both parties.

(2)        Mediation shall notbe used to deny or delay a parent's right to an impartial hearing under G.S.115C‑109.6, or to deny any other rights afforded under this Article orIDEA.

(3)        The mediation shallbe conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is trained in effectivemediation techniques.

(c)        The State Board mayestablish procedures to offer to parties that do not choose to use themediation process an opportunity to meet with a disinterested party, asprovided under IDEA, who can encourage the use and explain the benefits of themediation process to the parties. This meeting must be at a time and locationconvenient to the parents.

(d)        The State Boardshall maintain a list of qualified mediators who are knowledgeable in laws andregulations relating to the provision of special education and relatedservices. When mediation is requested, the Exceptional Children Division of theDepartment of Public Instruction shall assign a mediator from this list ofmediators.

(e)        The State shallbear the cost of the mediation process, including the costs of meetingsdescribed under subsection (c) of this section, unless the parties opt toselect a mediator other than the mediator assigned under subsection (d) of thissection or if the parties opt to use an alternative method of disputeresolution.

(f)         Each session inthe mediation process shall be scheduled in a timely manner and shall be heldin a location that is convenient to the parties to the dispute.

(g)        Evidence ofstatements made and conduct occurring in a mediation are confidential, are notsubject to discovery, and are inadmissible in any proceeding in the action orother actions on the same claim. However, no evidence otherwise discoverable isinadmissible merely because it is presented or discussed in a mediation.Mediators shall not be compelled in any civil proceeding to testify or produceevidence concerning statements made and conduct occurring in a mediation.

(h)        When resolution isreached to resolve the dispute through the mediation process, the parties shallexecute a legally binding agreement that:

(1)        Sets forth theagreement.

(2)        States that alldiscussions that occurred during the mediation process are confidential and maynot be used as evidence in any subsequent impartial hearing under G.S. 115C‑109.6or in any civil proceeding.

(3)        Is signed by boththe parent and a representative of the local educational agency who has theauthority to bind that agency.

(4)        Is enforceable inany State administrative forum provided for in IDEA, any State court ofcompetent jurisdiction, or in a district court of the United States.

(i)         In addition tomediation as provided by this section, the parties may participate in amediated settlement conference as provided by G.S. 150B‑23.1. Inaddition, the parties may agree to use other dispute resolution methods or touse mediation in other circumstances, including after a request for formaladministrative review is filed, to the extent permitted under State and federallaw. (1973, c.1293, s. 10; 1975, c. 151, ss. 1, 2; c. 563, ss. 8, 9; 1975, 2nd Sess., c. 983,ss. 79, 80; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; c. 497, ss. 1, 2; 1983, c. 247, s. 6; 1985, c.412, s. 2; 1987, c. 827, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1079, s. 1; 1989, c.362; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1058; 1991, c. 540, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess.,1992), c. 1030, s. 27; 1993, c. 270, s. 1; 1997‑115, s. 1; 2006‑69,s. 2.)