After you file for a hearing, the school district has 30 calendar days to work with you to reach an agreement before a hearing takes place.
One step toward reaching an agreement is to have a resolution meeting. The school district is required to set up this meeting with you within 15 calendar days of getting your complaint.
Resolution meetings are uncommon in Massachusetts.
What if either you or the school refuses to attend the meeting?
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You are required to participate in the resolution meeting.
If you choose not to attend a resolution meeting, then:
You and the school district must both agree in writing not to have the meeting.You can agree not to have the resolution meeting if you have already reached a solution OR
You and the school district must use the mediation process instead (see the hearing section of this Guide for more details about this process)
If you don't attend the meeting OR take one of the above options, the school can ask the hearing officer to dismiss your complaint. That's why it's important to be there!
If the school district is not willing to have a resolution meeting and it has been more than 15 days since they got your complaint, then you can ask the hearing officer to move forward with the due process hearing.
If the meeting does take place, here's what you can do:
Tell the school if you plan to bring a lawyer.The school is not allowed to bring its lawyer to the meeting unless you bring yours. Give the school at least 72 hours notice in writing that you plan to bring your lawyer.
Go to the meeting. The school district will decide which members of the Team will be there. An administrator, like the principal or director of special ed, will also go.
Sources: Children's Law Center of MA, Commonwealth of MA, Division of Administrative Law Appeals (Bureau of Special Education Appeals), MA DESE