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Due process as intimidation?

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I was in an IEP meeting yesterday for my daughter, it was the most contentious IEP meeting I have ever been in and I am also a practicing school psychologist. The district was not at all interested in having a discussion surrounding my proposal, and rather said they disagree, let's talk about mediation and due process. In my opinion, due process should be an absolute last resort and there should be thorough discussion of the matter prior to getting to that point. Every time they brought it up, which was multiple times, I kept saying "can't we discuss this further", and then would just continue on. Ultimately, I was able to prevail and get close to the minutes I was requesting but they were so quick to go to due process, I was shocked. As a school psychologist I will do everything in my power to work with families and resolve our disagreements, and I feel like my daughters district was using it as a threat to me instead. Has anyone ever had a similar situation?

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That is unusual.  I'm wondering if the school district (and others in your state) have had success before mediators and hearing officers?  You might call their bluff with respect to the mediation, since due process means you would probably need to hire an attorney.  I don't know the process in your state, but usually you are given a list of mediators to choose from.  Vet them carefully.

But first, you might try filing a state complaint (or even just making an informal call to the state compliance department) stating your right to "participate meaningfully" in the IEP process is being thwarted.  I would also see if your state offers facilitated IEP meetings.  That would be helpful, as the facilitator ensures that everyone can speak.

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Thank you, Carolyn. I am planning on filing a complaint with the state regarding my participation in the meeting, I’m waiting to receive the paperwork, I requested language be put in regarding the flow of the meeting, before I make my complaint so I can have evidence. My daughters private SLP was present as well and has said she will help support my complaint as well.

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