DG vs. Council Rock School District

PENNSYLVANIA

SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION ON REMAND

Name of Student: D. G.

ODR #6810/06-07 KE

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing:

October 18, 2006,
January 5, January 8, January 9, February 23, March 5, March 6, March 20, April 10, June 11, 2007 and June 12, 2007

DATE REMAND RECEIVED BY HEARING OFFICER February 6, 2010

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Council Rock School District 30 N. Chancellor Street Newtown, Pennsylvania 18901

Representative:
Frederick Stanczak, Esquire
179 N. Broad Street
Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901

Grace Deon, Esquire Eastburn and Gray
60 East Court Street Doylestown, PA 18901

Date of Decision: August 29, 2007

Date Remand Record Closed: February 15, 2010

Date of Remand Decision: March 1, 2010

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO

 

Background

This matter is on remand from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which for unknown reasons did not reach me until early February 2010. It concerns Student, a twenty-five year old individual, formerly enrolled in the Council Rock School District (District), and special education eligible with a specific learning disability in reading and written expression, from the end of 1st grade through Student’s school career. The Parents maintained Student was denied a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in those areas as well as transition planning, entitling Student to compensatory education during the entire time of eligibility, while the District maintained that Student had always been provided with FAPE.

Following eleven hearing sessions from October 18, 2006 through June 11, 2007, and receipt of closing briefs on August 15, 2007, I rendered a decision on August 29, 2007, appealed by both parties to the Pennsylvania Special Education Appeals Panel which affirmed in total. Each then appealed that result by returning to the federal court action, previously stayed by the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania pending exhaustion of administrative remedies. The Court upheld the decisions in part, but under Lauren P., 2007 WL 1810671, at *6 (E.D. Pa. June 20, 2007) found errors of law at both administrative levels. The Court held that both administrative levels erred “by removing from review the period prior to [Student’s] seventh grade for equitable considerations based on the conduct of Student’s parents. By imposing such a limitation on Student’s compensatory education claim, they effectively punished Student for [the] parent’s lack of vigilance, a result expressly forbidden by the Third Circuit caselaw.” It then remanded the matter for me to determine whether Student is entitled to compensatory education for the second through sixth grade years. Therefore, this entire period is at issue, and the Court has directed me to determine which services were not appropriately, or were inappropriately, provided during that period, as well as the compensatory education if any Student should receive for them.

Issue

Did the Council Rock School District fail to offer Student a free appropriate public education from second through sixth grades?

D-G-Council-Rock-ODRNo-6810-06-07-KE

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