SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER
DUE PROCESS HEARING
Name of Child: D.J.
ODR #18281 / 16-17-KE
Date of Birth:[redacted]
Dates of Hearing: November 8, 2016 December 9, 2016
Parties to the Hearing:
Freire Charter School 2027 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
Joseph Montgomery, Esquire Montgomery Law
1420 Locust Street Suite 420 Philadelphia, PA 19102
Bianca Iozzia, Esquire
Michael Miller, Esquire
170 S. Independence Mall West Suite 400E Philadelphia, PA 19106
Date of Decision: January 26, 2017
Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Officer
Student1 is a mid-teen aged eligible student who was enrolled in the Charter School (School) for the 2015-2016 school year only. In August 2015, just prior to the start of 9th grade, Student was diagnosed with a medical condition, [redacted] that causes pain in the large and small joints as well as fatigue. Student was also found to have another medical condition, [redacted] in which individuals experience an abnormal sensitivity to pain. In mid-October 2015 when Student’s mother (Parent) first made the School aware of these diagnoses the School developed a 504 Plan pursuant to §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 19732 and also proposed to evaluate Student for eligibility for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)3. As of January 22, 2016 Student was found eligible for special education programming under the classifications of Other Health Impairment and Specific Learning Disability in reading. An IEP was not immediately implemented because the Parent did not approve the NOREP until April 5, 2016. Student left the School at the end of 9th grade and now attends a public school operated by the school district of residence.
The Parent requested this hearing under both Section 504 and the IDEA, alleging that the School denied Student a free appropriate public education (FAPE). With regard to the 504 Plan, the Parent alleges that the various accommodations in the plan were not provided or were provided inconsistently, and that the Behavior Contract that accompanied the 504 Plan was not appropriate. With regard to the IEP, the Parent alleges that she was denied meaningful participation in its creation, and that it was not appropriate and/or appropriately implemented. The Parent also alleges that Student was disciplined inappropriately, without regard for the provisions in the 504 Plan and/or the IEP. Finally, the Parent believes that the School inappropriately required Student to repeat 9th grade and seeks an order that Student be promoted to 10th grade for the current school year.
After a careful review of the entirety of the parties’ documentary and testimonial evidence, and considering the parties’ written closing arguments, I find for the Parent in part and for the School in part.
- Were the provisions of the 504 Plan provided/provided consistently?
- Was the Behavior Contract accompanying the 504 Plan appropriate?
- Did the school discipline Student inappropriately in light of Student’s disability?
- Was the Parent denied meaningful participation in developing the IEP?
- Was the IEP appropriate/implemented appropriately?
- Was the School’s not promoting Student to 10th grade inappropriate?
- If the School denied Student FAPE in any or all the above areas, what remedy is appropriate?