This is a redacted version of the original decision. Select details have been removed
from the decision to preserve anonymity of the student. The redactions do not affect the
substance of the document.
Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: B.D.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
ODR No. 01070-0910 AS
Parties to the Hearing:
Lower Merion School District Academy Building
Bala Cynwyd Middle School 510 Bryn Mawr Avenue
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Sonja D. Kerr, Esquire
Benjamin D. Geffen, Esquire
Public Interest Law Center of Phila. 1709 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, 2d Fl. Philadelphia, PA 19103
Gail Weilheimer, Esquire Wisler Pearlstine, LLP
Office Court at Walton Point 484 Norristown Road, Suite 100 Blue Bell, PA 19422-2326
Dates of Hearing: November 8, 2010; November 29, 2010; December 20, 2010;
January 21, 2011; January 26, 2011; February 7, 2011
Record Closed: February 28, 2011
Date of Decision: March 13, 2011
Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The captioned high school Student is an eligible resident of the captioned District. (NT 9-4 to 10-3, 38-3 to 8.) The Student is identified with Specific Learning Disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA). (NT 38-3 to 8.) The captioned Parent requests due process under the IDEA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504), seeking compensatory education for prior years and prospective relief, as well as reimbursement for independent educational evaluations. (NT 47-19 to 49-19.) The District asserts that it provided appropriate services at all relevant times and that the Parent is not entitled to reimbursement under the law.
On the District’s pre-hearing motion, I dismissed Parent’s claims regarding racially disproportionate identification; racial discrimination; altering or amending educational records; and altering or amending District policies. I reserved judgment on Parent’s claim for compensatory education in the form of college courses, tuition or college related expenses. I denied the District’s motion regarding Parent’s claim of inappropriate identification due to racial animus, and Parent’s request for an order to train staff with regard to diabetes. (HO-1.)
Also on the District’s motion, I dismissed all claims by the Parents that arose from events occurring before May 10, 2008. (HO-2.) At the hearing, after receiving oral argument, I declined to order prospective relief, because the Student at the time was in custody of the Juvenile Court without a release date. Thus the period for which I will provide relief (relevant period) ends on the date of confinement by the Court, August 13, 2010. (NT 82-13 to 83-4.) This matter was heard in six sessions and the record closed on February 28, 2011, upon receipt of written summations.
- During the relevant time period, did the District maintain an inappropriate identification of the Student?
- During the relevant time period, did the District place the Student in an inappropriate educational setting that was not the least restrictive appropriate educational setting or that was otherwise inappropriate for the Student?
- During the relevant time period, did the District fail to provide the Student with a free appropriate public education with regard to educational needs in reading, writing or mathematics?
- Should the hearing officer award compensatory education to the Student for all or any part of the relevant period?
- Should the hearing officer award reimbursement for private evaluations by two private evaluators – by an educator of diabetes patients dated August 13, 2010 and October 30, 2010, and by a neuropsychologist dated August 23 and August 24, 2010?