DJ vs. Pocono Mountain School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

Child’s Name: D.J.
Date of Birth: [redacted]

CLOSED HEARING

ODR File No. 18588-16-17 KE

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

Local Education Agency
Pocono Mountain School District 135 Pocono Mountain School Road Swiftwater, PA 18370

Representative:

Parent Attorney None

LEA Attorney
Glenna M. Hazeltine, Esquire
King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC
One West Broad Street, Suite 700 Bethlehem, PA 18018

Date of Hearing: January 25, 2017

Date of Decision: February 5, 2017

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, M.Ed., J.D.

 

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The student (hereafter Student)1 is a mid-teenaged student in the Pocono Mountain School District (District) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).2 Student’s Parents filed a Due Process Complaint against the District in late December 2016 asserting, among other things, that it failed to comply with the IDEA when it imposed certain disciplinary measures on Student during the 2016-17 school year.3 The case proceeded to a single-session, expedited due process hearing for the reception of evidence on the discipline issues presented.4

For the reasons set forth below, the Parents have not established a violation of the IDEA on the narrow expedited issue presented in this portion of the bifurcated proceeding. Nevertheless, the circumstances surrounding the discipline in this case are quite concerning and indicate a significant need for concrete steps to be taken toward revising Student’s educational program, particularly the behavioral concerns. Accordingly, the District will be directed to convene another manifestation determination meeting so that the parties may together consider all available alternatives for addressing Student’s behavior.

ISSUES

  1. Whether the District violated its IDEA obligations to Student in imposing discipline during the 2016-17 school year; and
  2. Whether the District’s discipline records for Student are inaccurate.
D-J-Pocono-Mountain-ODRNo-18588-16-17-KE

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