Who Attends Resolution Meetings?

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The district’s lawyer said that since my husband was a lawyer and I had an advocate, the district deserved to be represented at a resolution meeting.

I thought lawyers could not attend a resolution meeting. We do not have legal representation. She said, “Well, I will be outside the door!”

I assume the resolution session is scheduled because you requested a due process hearing.

Write a polite business-like letter. In your letter, describe:

  • what the school attorney told you
  • your understanding of what the law requires
  • the chilling effect of the attorney’s statement that, regardless of what the law says, she “will be outside the door.”

Who Attends Resolution Meetings

The purpose of the resolution session is to provide parents and schools with an opportunity to resolve complaints before a due process hearing.

The resolution sessions gives parents an opportunity to discuss their complaints with “relevant members of the IEP team,” including “a representative of the LEA who has decision-making authority.”

Because attorneys tend to have a negative impact on communication and problem solving, the law specifically states that the resolution session “may not include an attorney of the local education agency unless the parent is accompanied by an attorney.”

Open your law book – Wrightslaw: Special Education Law. Copy the text of the statute into your letter. (Find it on page 113.)

Read the requirements for a Resolution Meeting. Also read the comments in the footnotes about the resolution session.

In your letter, ask the decision-maker to clarify:

  • the school’s position
  • the school board attorneys’ role at the resolution session

so you know what to expect.

  1. I would assume that the school’s attorney is attending regardless, since they can always have a phone or computer line open. What’s to stop them? The attorney billings usually aren’t very specific in our district.

  2. I would argue that the parent (your husband) is NOT “accompanied” by an attorney (he simply IS one – and not necessarily a special ed attorney). Your husband is not providing you with “legal representation.” He is attending as a parent. And your advocate is not an attorney. Thus the plain wording on the law would suggest that the school is not entitled to have an attorney at the resolution meeting.

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