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. M.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing:
January 19, 2016
January 26, 2016
February 2, 2016
March 2, 2016
March 9, 2016
March 16, 2016
ODR Case # 16725-1516AS
Parties to the Hearing:
Unionville-Chadds Ford School District 740 Unionville Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Jacqueline Lembeck, Esquire 30 Cassatt Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19312
Anne Hendricks, Esquire
1301 Masons Mill Business Park 1800 Byberry Road
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Date Record Closed: March 16, 2016
Date of Decision: April 5, 2016
Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Student1 is an early teen-aged student residing in the Unionville- Chadds Ford School District (“District”) who has been identified as a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEA”)2. The student has been identified under the terms of IDEA as a student with autism, an intellectual disability, and speech/language impairment.3 Parents maintain that the student’s program and placement should remain at the District based placement where the student has attended for the current 2015-2016 school year. Parents feel that the District-based placement provides the student with a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) in the least restrictive requirement (“LRE”), as required under IDEA and Pennsylvania special education regulations.
The District counters that the appropriate program/placement for the student is an autism support classroom operated by the local intermediate unit (“IU”). The District asserts that the IU placement is not
1 The generic use of “student” will be used, to the extent it is helpful, to protect the student’s confidentiality. Additionally and for the same reason, gender-specific pronouns will not be used.
2 It is this hearing officer’s preference to cite to the implementing regulation of the IDEIA at 34 C.F.R. §§300.1-300.818.
3 In the midst of these proceedings, additional medical information related to a seizure disorder was developed by the student’s medical providers which, going forward, may impact an understanding of the student’s medical diagnoses. (Mother’s Exhibit-1, Mother’s Exhibit-2; Notes of Testimony at 751-810.)
only reasonably calculated to provide FAPE to the student but is necessary for the student to continue to make educational progress.
For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the parents.
Should the student
remain in a District-based placement,
or should the student’s placement be changed to the IU autism support program?