CT vs. Penn Hills School District

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.

IN THE PENNSYLVANIA OFFICE FOR DISPUTE RESOLUTION

FINAL DECISION AND ORDER

ODR File No. 13083-1213KE

OPEN HEARING

Child’s Name: C.T.1 Date of Birth: [redacted]

Hearing Date: November 9, 2012

Parties to the Hearing

Parent

Penn Hills School District 260 Aster Street Pittsburgh, PA 15235

Representative

Pro se

Craig Alexander, Esquire Bruce E. Dice & Associates P.C. 787 Pine Valley Drive, Suite E Pittsburgh, PA 15239

Record Closed: November 20, 2012

Date of Decision: November 29, 2012

Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford

 

Introduction

This matter arises under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400–1419. In considering the Parent’s claims, I also look to the IDEA’s federal and state implementing regulations; respectively 34 C.F.R. § 300.500 et seq. and 22 Pa. Code § 14.

The Parent requested this due process hearing to compel the Penn Hills School District (District) to add certain elements to the Student’s individualized educational program (IEP). Specifically, the Parent states that it is a violation of the Parent’s religious beliefs for the Student to eat [specific food]. The Parent demands a statement to that effect placed into the Student’s IEP, along with a provision that the District will not offer any [specific food] to the Student. Similarly, the Parent maintains that it is a violation of the Parent’s religious beliefs for the Student to come into contact with [specific items or attend specific activities.]2 As with the religion-based food prohibition, the Parent demands a statement to that effect placed into the Student’s IEP, along with a provision that the District will communicate with the Parent to ensure that the Student will not [have contact with specific items or attend specific events]. The Parent believes that it is a helpful behavioral intervention for the Student to speak with the Parent via telephone [redacted]. The Parent demands [a provision to this effect] to be drafted into the Student’s IEP. The Parent also wants the Student to be removed from a SAT prep class. Finally, the Parent is concerned about the Student’s transition planning. The Parent wants the IEP to reflect the Student’s current placement in a vocational program in such a way that the program will continue after the Student graduates.

Issues

The IDEA prohibits consideration of issues not raised in the Parent’s Complaint unless the District agrees otherwise. See 20 U.S.C. § 1415(f)(3)(B). In this case, the issues presented by the Parent both at the outset of and throughout the hearing varied somewhat from the issues presented in the Complaint. With no objection from the District at the time of the hearing, I will address those issues that were presented by the Parent during the hearing:

  1. MusttheStudent’sIEPnoteareligiousprohibitionagainsttheStudenteating [specific food]?
  2. MusttheStudent’sIEPnoteareligiousprohibitionagainsttheStudentparticipating in [specific activities] and, if so, must the Student’s IEP be designed to prevent such occurrences?3
  3. MusttheStudent’sIEPnotethat[specificcommunication]withtheParentisan effective means of behavior modification and, if so, must the IEP incorporate a protocol for the same [redacted]?
  4. MusttheStudentberemovedfromanSATprepclass?
  5. MusttheIEPincludeaprovisionthatwillenabletheStudenttocontinueparticipation in a vocational training program after graduation (currently anticipated in June of 2013)?
C-T-Penn-Hills-ODRNo-13083-1213KE

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