Policies & Procedures (NEEDS REVISION)



Policies & Procedures (NEEDS REVISION)

On this website you will find a link entitled “Special Education Handbook”. This handbook was originally prepared as a reference tool for special education teachers and administrative staff to assist non-legally trained employees understand the many laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the education of special needs students. Any discrepancies between the language in the handbook and the actual language of the rule or regulation shall be resolved in favor of the actual language of the rule or regulation. The handbook may be accessed by clicking on the following link:

(Special Education Handbook Link to be added)

Specific information is provided regarding:

Due Process Procedures
Forms
Program Areas
Related Services
Support Personnel
Topical Issues/Procedures

Also included is a "Question and Answer” section in which some commonly asked questions are presented. Accompanying each question is a response designed to clarify and/or provide guidance on an issue. In addition, a section entitled "Memos" has been included which can be used as a place to "file" memos which come from the Special Education Department on revised procedures, new information, etc.


Mediation
Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) believes that it is important for our stakeholders (students and their parents) to have an opportunity for an open dialogue with educators and administrators within the school system. As our board policy states, “parent involvement is an on-going process…and promotes clear, two-way communication between the home and school.”

From time to time, disagreements may arise between the parents, or the student, and the school system or special education issues. These issues typically include disagreements over the identification, evaluation, educational placement or the provision of a free appropriate education (FAPE) of a special needs student. In order to facilitate the resolution of such issues, Gwinnett County Public Schools supports the concept of mediation, in appropriate circumstances, as a dispute resolution mechanism.

In general, the State Board has directed that each local subdivision of the State Board, including GCPS, shall ensure that procedures are established and implemented to allow parties to resolve disputes through mediation. In accordance with State Board rules and regulations, GCPS adopts the following mediation procedures:

1. Mediation shall be offered to parents and/or students, if the student is the age of majority (eighteen years) and is otherwise competent to handle his or her own affairs, whenever the parent or student requests a due process hearing. Attendance at mediation shall be voluntary on the part of the parent or student, and shall not be required prior to a hearing being conducted. If a parent or student accepts the offer of mediation, the appropriate representative or representatives from GCPS shall attend.

2. In all other cases, whenever a parent and or a student requests mediation to resolve a special education dispute, the Gwinnett Department of Special Education and Psychological Services shall review the request and the issues giving rise to the request. Within three school days of receiving the request, GOSEPS shall respond to the parent or student, either accepting or denying the offer of mediation, and if accepted, the Georgia Department of Education shall be contacted and informed of the mediation or order that a mediator may be appointed by that agency.

3. In all cases, mediation shall be voluntary on the part of all parties except in the case of parent or student requests for due process hearings as outlined above. Written requests for mediation are preferred and should include the reasons for the request. Verbal requests for mediation will also be considered.

4. Mediation shall be scheduled promptly and without administrative delay so as not to interfere with a party’s timely resolution of the issues, and shall be held at a mutually convenient time and location.

5. A trained, neutral mediator shall conduct the mediation.

6. The Georgia Department of Education shall bear the cost of mediation.