Mediate, Not Litigate
Trying mediation before litigation to resolve a dispute is a popular, cost-saving concept among administrators and other leaders. They have discovered the benefits of effective mediation outweigh the adversarial effects of litigation.
Mediation is especially effective in resolving disputes between schools and parents, such as special education issues and disciplinary situations, says Philip E. Tieman, a former superintendent who has completed mediation training programs and practiced mediation during his administrative career. In addition, it sets a tone within a district that is reflected in relationships between administrators, parents, students, teachers and the community. With the exception of severe criminal acts, Tieman says that most disputes can be resolved with mediation.
Tieman says he believes all teachers and administrators should be required to take formal mediation training. Those without it may want to use the new conflict resolution mediation program offered by Westerville, Ohio-based SchoolMatch.
To ready yourself for the mediation process, Tieman says to keep the following in mind: