Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Information

Paul M. Secunda, Mediating the Special Education Front Lines in Mississippi, originally published at 76 UMKC L. Rev. 823 (2008).

Source Publication

76 UMKC Law Review 823 (2008).


In over four years, I have mediated nearly thirty special education disputes involving children in regular and special education classrooms, in special schools for the blind and deaf, and in the institutional setting. Happily, most of these disputes resulted in mediation agreements, without need for further litigation between the parties. Each mediation has elements that make it unique. But before the mediations discussed in this story, I had never been to a juvenile correctional facility, let alone a maximum security one, to hear a special education dispute.

This paper, part of the UMKC Law Review Law Stories series, explains in a first-person narrative my experiences in trying to mediate a special education dispute between a child adjudicated-as-an-adult in a maximum security prison in Mississippi and the State Department of Corrections and institution officials.

Happily, the parties in this story were able to consider the applicable IDEA provisions and work out a program which balanced the special education needs of the students against the penological and security interests of the correctional facility. And perhaps because the parties to this mediation were able to think outside of the box and brainstorm ideas with the best interests of the student squarely in mind, future students will be fighting back against gangs from in front of bars instead of behind them.

Included in

Law Commons