Special Education Hearing Officer


Student’s Name: D.G.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 15648-14-15-KE


Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Central Dauphin School District 600 Rutherford Road Harrisburg, PA 17109


Yvonne M. Husic, Esq. 2215 Forest Hills Drive Suite 35
Harrisburg, PA 17112

Judith Gran, Esq.
Freeman Carolla Reisman Gran 19 Chestnut Street Haddonfield, N. J. 08033

Christopher J. Conrad, Esq.
Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin
100 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 201 Camp Hill, PA 17011

Date of Hearing: December 15, 2014

Record Closed: December 15, 2014

Date of Decision: December 21, 2014

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



The student in this matter (Student)1 is an eligible third grade student living within the respondent District. (NT 9; S 1.) At the beginning of the school year, Student was placed in Student’s neighborhood school and included in a regular education classroom. (S 2, 3.) Student is identified as a child with the disabilities Emotional Disturbance and Speech or Language Impairment pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA). (NT 9; S 4.)

On November 12, 2014, the District found Student to be in violation of the District’s Student Code of Conduct due to an outburst in which Student kicked, struck and bit District personnel while acting out. On November 13, 2014, the District notified Parent of its decision to remove Student to an interim alternative educational setting without a manifestation determination. The District based its decision upon the IDEA “special circumstances” rule (NT 6), permitting change of placement for a child who has inflicted “serious bodily injury” upon another person at school. 20 U.S.C. §1415(k)(1)(G). On December 1, 2014, Parent filed a complaint notice under the IDEA appealing the District’s decision to change Student’s placement unilaterally.

Pursuant to the IDEA, a hearing commenced on Parent’s appeal on December 15, 2014, and the hearing was completed on the same day. I conclude that the District did not have authority under the IDEA to change Student’s placement unilaterally and I will order the District to return Student to Student’s previous placement. In addition, I order the District to convene an IEP meeting upon Student’s return.



  1. Was the District’s decision to change Student’s placement appropriate under the IDEA’s “special circumstances” rule?
  2. Should the hearing officer order the District to return Student to Student’s last operative placement?
  3. Should the hearing officer order the District to conduct a manifestation determination, train its staff or take other action with regard to Student?

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