Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: B. M.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 02/22/2017, 02/24/2017, 03/16/2017, 04/19/2017
ODR File No. 18379-1617AS
Parties to the Hearing:
Local Education Agency
Quakertown Community Sch. Dist. 100 Commerce Drive Quakertown, PA 18951
Hollie John, Esq.
Jacobson & John LLP
99 Lantern Drive, Suite 202 Doylestown, PA 18901
Mark W. Cheramie Walz, Esq. Sweet Stevens Katz & Williams LLP 331 E. Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18601
Date of Decision: 05/22/2017
Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford, JD, CHO
The parents (Parents) requested this special education due process hearing on behalf of their child (Student), against the Quakertown Community School District (District).1
The Student exhibits significant school avoidance behaviors. Currently, the parties are unable to get the Student to attend school. This matter concerns the appropriateness of the District’s actions in the years leading up to the current situation, and the parties’ current efforts to return the Student to school.
This matter arises under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.
Specifically, the Parents claim that the District failed to suspect that the Student has a disability and initiate the IDEA’s evaluation process, violating the IDEA’s Child Find requirements, described below. Eventually, the Student was identified as “protected handicapped student” under Section 504, and received a Section 504 service agreement (504 Agreement). The Parents claim that the 504 Agreement was inappropriate. Ultimately, the Student received an IDEA evaluation, that evaluation was documented in an Evaluation Report (ER). Through the ER, the Student was found eligible to receive special education. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) was drafted for the Student. The Parents claim that the ER and resulting IEP were both inappropriate.
Explained below, I find partly in favor of the Parents and partly in favor of the District.
On January 19, 2017, the Parents clarified via email that they are only seeking relief from October 25, 2014, forward. The issues in this case were phrased differently at various points in the testimony and in the Complaint. My synthesis of those various phrasings results in the following issues:
- From October 25, 2014 through March 2, 2016, was the Student entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA and, if so, did the District provide a FAPE and, if not, is the Student owed compensatory education?
- From March 2, 2016 through September 14, 2016, was the Student’s 504 Agreement appropriate and, if not, is the Student entitled to compensatory education?
- From September 14, 2016 onward, was the Student’s IEP appropriate and, if not, is the Student entitled to compensatory education?