3I - Conflict Resolution at the Lowest Possible Level
IDEA requires that parents turn first to IDEA’s administrative framework to resolve any conflicts they have with Albuquerque Public Schools including regarding identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of a FAPE. The Tenth Circuit federal court of appeals has interpreted the IDEA’s exhaustion requirements broadly, “noting Congress’ clear intention to allow those with experience in educating the nation’s disabled children ‘at least the first crack at formulating a plan to overcome the consequences of educational shortfalls.’” (Ellenberg v. New Mexico Military Institute, 478 F.3d 1262 (10th Cir. 2007))
Albuquerque Public Schools seeks to establish and maintain productive working relationships with the parents of each child it serves and to deal constructively with disagreements. Toward that end, Albuquerque Public Schools provides appropriate training for staff and parents in skills and techniques of conflict prevention and management and dispute resolution. (18.104.22.168(G)(1) NMAC)
Albuquerque Public Schools shall utilize informal dispute resolution methods to resolve disagreements at the local level whenever practicable. (22.214.171.124(G)(2) NMAC)
Albuquerque Public Schools shall encourage parents to contact the principal first in an effort to resolve a conflict. If efforts to resolve the conflict at the campus level fail, Albuquerque Public Schools shall encourage parents to call the Special Education Department to be directed to appropriate district-level personnel.
To facilitate dispute prevention, as well as swift, early conflict resolution whenever possible, the New Mexico Public Education Department and the Albuquerque Public Schools shall ensure that the following range of dispute resolution options is available to parents:
- Informal dispute resolution option. If a disagreement arises between parents and Albuquerque Public Schools over a student's IEP or educational program, either the parents or Albuquerque Public Schools may convene a new IEP meeting at any time to attempt to resolve their differences at the local level, without state-level intervention.
- Informal dispute resolution option. If a disagreement arises between parents and Albuquerque Public Schools over a student’s IEP or educational program, Albuquerque Public Schools may provide district personnel trained and experienced in facilitation to assist the student’s IEP Team in resolving the conflict at the local level.
- Third-party assisted intervention. The Special Education Bureau of the Public Education Department ensures that mediation is available to parents and Albuquerque Public Schools who request such third-party assisted intervention before filing a state-level complaint or a request for a due process hearing.
- Formal dispute resolution. A state-level complaint may be filed with the Special Education Bureau of the Public Education Department by the parents of a child, or by another individual or organization on behalf of a child. Once a complaint has been filed, the parties may agree to convene a FIEP meeting or mediation. To do so, Albuquerque Public Schools must (and the parent may) notify the Special Education Bureau in writing within 1 business day of reaching their decision to jointly request one of these alternative dispute resolution options.
- Formal dispute resolution. A request for a due process hearing may be filed by parents or their authorized representative, or by the Albuquerque Public Schools. A resolution session between the parties shall be convened by Albuquerque Public Schools following a request for a due process hearing, unless the parties agree in writing to waive that option or to convene a FIEP meeting or mediation instead.
The Special Education Bureau of the Public Education Department shall honor a request for mediation that:
- Is in writing;
- Is submitted to the Special Education Bureau of the Public Education Department;
- Is a mutual request signed by both parties or their designated representatives;
- Includes a statement of the matter(s) in dispute and a description of any previous attempts to resolve these matters at the local level; and
- Any request that does not contain all of these elements will be declined, with an explanation for the Special Education Bureau of the Public Education Department's decision and further guidance, as appropriate.
Administrative Position: Chief Academic Officer
Department Director: Executive Director of Special Education
Legal Cross Ref.:
- f F.3d 1262 (10th Cir. 2007)
- 126.96.36.199 NMAC
Board Policy Cross Ref.:
Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:
- Special Education – Prior Written Notice
- Special Education – State-Level Complaint Procedures
- Special Education – Due Process Hearings
NSBA/NEPN Classification: IHBA
Introduced: April 1, 2011
Reviewed: April 12, 2011
Adopted: April 22, 2011
Reviewed: October 12, 2012
Revised: October 12, 2012