DH vs. Abington Heights School District

PENNSYLVANIA

SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER DECISION

DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Student: D.H.

ODR #13341/12-13KE

Date of Birth:

[redacted]

Dates of Hearing: January 21, 2013 March 4, 2013 March 5, 2013 April 26, 2013

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Abington Heights School District 200 East Grove Street
Clarks Summit, PA 18411

Representative:
Margaret Cowley, Esquire Michael Cowley, Esquire Cowley Law Offices
114 North Abington Road Clarks Green, PA 18411

Mark Walz, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 E. Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18601

Date Record Closed : May 25, 2013

Date of Decision: June 8, 2013

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

 

Background

Student1 is a high-school-age student who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] under the current classification of emotional disturbance2 , and consequently a protected handicapped individual under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [Section 504] as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.

This matter concerns a due process request from the Parents who are seeking tuition reimbursement for Student’s unilateral placement at an out-of-state private residential school [hereinafter PRS]. The District maintains that it has offered Student a free appropriate public education [hereinafter FAPE] in its public school and that tuition reimbursement should be denied.

Issue

Must the District reimburse the Parents for tuition and associated costs for an out-of-state private residential placement?

Specifically, did the District offer Student an appropriate program and placement for the 2011-2012 and the 2012-1013 school years?

If the District did not offer Student an appropriate program and placement for one or both of the school years in question, was the program and placement unilaterally chosen by the Parents appropriate?

If the District failed to offer Student an appropriate program and placement for one or both years, and the Parents’ unilateral placement was appropriate, are there equitable considerations that would remove or reduce the District’s obligation to provide tuition reimbursement for the private school placement?

D-H-Abington-Heights-ODRNo-13341-12-13KE

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