Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution
A segment of the dispute resolution literature describes (or appears to describe) the dispute resolution options contained within the IDEA procedural safeguards (mediation, state administrative complaints, and due process complaints) along a linear continuum of combativeness, with mediation described as the least adversarial, and due process complaints described as very adversarial. The problem with this one-dimensional continuum is that it may not fully describe the reasons parties choose dispute resolution. The degree of the adversarial nature is only one reason why a party may choose a dispute resolution option, and it may not even be the most relevant reason. The purpose of this article is to provide an additional way to explain to parents and school officials the key differences between the IDEA's dispute resolution processes through using a multidimensional model. In addition to adversarial-versus-not, the author contends that a multifactor model is an additional and effective way to explain the differences between these processes. This multifactor model is based on the degree to which each process offers the parties varying amounts of finality (the ability to have a dispute resolved) and control (the ability to be the author of any resolution).