BK vs. Wissahickon School District

This is a redacted version of the original hearing officer decision. Select details have been
removed from the decision to preserve anonymity of the student as required by IDEA 2004.
Those portions of the decision which pertain to the student’s gifted education have been
removed in accordance with 22 Pa. Code § 16.63 regarding closed hearings.

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
Child’s Name: B.K.
Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: 6/12/2015, 8/10/2015, 8/11/2015, 8/12/2015,
8/13/2015 and 10/14/2015

CLOSED HEARING
ODR File No. 16119-14-15AS

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

Local Education Agency Wissahickon School District 601 Knight Road
Ambler, PA 19002

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Joseph W. Montgomery, Esquire Montgomery Law, LLC
1420 Locust Street, Suite 420 Philadelphia, PA 19102

LEA Attorney
Scott H. Wolpert, Esquire Timoney Knox, LLP
400 Maryland Drive
P.O. Box 7544
Fort Washington, PA 19034

Date Record Closed: November 9, 2015

Date of Decision: November 25, 2015

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, M.Ed., J.D.

 

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The student (Student)1 is an early elementary school-aged student in the Wissahickon School District (District) who has been identified as a Protected Handicapped Student.
Student’s Parent filed a due process complaint against the District asserting that it denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act2 (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,3 as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.4

The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over six sessions, at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions.5 The Parent sought to establish that the District failed in its IDEA obligations to identify Student as eligible under the IDEA and develop an appropriate program during the 2014-15 first grade school year. The District maintained that its determination that Student qualified as a Protected Handicapped Student whose needs could be addressed in its subsequent proposed Section 504 Plan was appropriate. A number of sub-issues developed further as the case proceeded to the final hearing session. For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the Parent on some issues and in favor of the District on others, and will order an appropriate remedy.

ISSUES

  1. Whether the District violated its Child Find obligations in failing to identify Student as eligible for special education;
  2. Whether the District’s evaluation under Section 504 was appropriate;
  3. Whether the District’s educational programming was appropriate for Student with respect to all academic, social/emotional, behavioral, and executive functioning needs;
  4. If the District failed in any of these obligations, is the Student entitled to compensatory education and/or any other remedy;
  5. Whether the Parent should be reimbursed for an independent evaluation; and
  6. Whether the Student is entitled to further independent evaluations.
B-K-Wissahickon-ODRNo-16119-14-15AS

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