BM vs. Brandywine Heights Area Sch. Dist.

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.

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Student’s Name: B.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 14715-13-14-KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parent[s]

Brandywine Heights Area Sch. Dist. 200 West Weiss St.
Topton, PA 19562

Representative:

Jennifer Lukach Bradley, Esq. McAndrews Law Offices
30 Cassatt Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19312

Mark W. Cheramie Walz, Esq.
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams, LLP 331 East Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18601

Dates of Hearing: May 6, 2014; May 30, 2014; July 8, 2014

Record Closed: July 25, 2014

Date of Decision: August 20, 2014

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The student in this matter (Student)1 transitioned to the respondent school district (District)2 from early intervention for the 2012-2013 school term, beginning in kindergarten. (NT 10, 58; S 8.) Student is identified with Autism and Speech or Language Impairment pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA). (S 8.) Parents3 requested due process under the IDEA, alleging that the District failed to provide Student with an appropriate evaluation, placement and program in kindergarten and in first grade.4 Parents request compensatory education and an order that the District provide an appropriate placement and program for Student’s second grade school year. The District asserts that it has provided an appropriate program and placement.

The hearing was completed in three sessions, and the record closed upon receipt of written summations. I conclude that the District failed to provide appropriate services to address Student’s educational needs from September 19, 2012 to February 1, 2013, but that it complied with the IDEA with regard to all other issues presented in this matter,

 

ISSUES

 

  1. Was the District’s re-evaluation report dated September 6, 2012, as revised September 12, 2012, appropriate?
  1. Did the District provide Student with an appropriate placement during the relevant period of time from the first day of school in the 2012-2013 school year until May 6, 2014?
  2. Did the District provide Student with an appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP) during the relevant period?
  3. Did the District appropriately provide Student with placement in the least restrictive environment during the relevant period?
  4. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide compensatory education to Student for all or any part of the relevant period?
  5. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide any specific educational programming for the 2014-2015 school year?

1 Student is named in the title page of this decision; all personal references in this matter are to “Student” in order to guard Student’s confidentiality.
2 The respondent District is named in the title page of this decision; its identity is withheld from the remainder of the decision in order to guard Student’s confidentiality.

3 Both Parents named in the title page of this decision joined in requesting due process, and both participated in many of the IEP and other meetings mentioned in this decision. Therefore Parents are referenced in the plural throughout this decision. However, many of the communications and transactions mentioned here were between Student’s Mother and District personnel. Therefore, I reference the Mother as “Parent”, in the singular.

4 Over the Parents’ objection, I determined at the outset of the hearing that I would limit the time frame for decision and decide the appropriateness of the District’s actions and inactions as set forth in the issues listed below, within the period beginning on Student’s first day of kindergarten on August 26, 2012 and ending on the first day of hearings in this matter, May 6, 2014. (NT 34-35.) I refer to this as the relevant period.

B-M-Brandywine-Heights-Area-ODRNo-14715-13-14-KE

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