DK vs. Bristol Township School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: D.K.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 17036-15-16-KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Bristol Township School District 6401 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA 19057-4014

Representative:

Jason Fortenberry, Esquire Frankel & Kershenbaum, LLC 1230 County Line Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Melissa K. Fiala, Esquire
Benjamin W.R. Hauser, Esquire Rudolph Clarke, LLC
Seven Neshaminy Interplex, Suite 200 Trevose, PA 19053

Dates of Hearing: February 8, 2016; February 9, 2016; February 26, 2016; March 1, 2016; March 7, 2016

Record Closed: April 4, 2016

Date of Decision: April 19, 2016

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

 

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The child named in this matter (Student)1 is a resident of the District named in this matter (District), and is enrolled in a private grade school (School) for the 2015-2016 school year. (NT 9-10.) Prior to enrolling in the School, Student was enrolled in a District grade school. The District has classified Student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA) as a child with the disability of Other Health Impairment due to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). (NT 10.)

Student’s mother and father (Parents) removed Student from the District unilaterally, during the summer before Student was to advance into a District middle school. Parents assert that the District failed to evaluate Student appropriately and failed to offer and provide Student with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) when Student was in its schools during most of the two school years prior to Student’s enrollment in the private School.2

Parents filed this due process request, pursuant to the IDEA; section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504); and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101, et seq. (ADA).3 Parents request compensatory education, reimbursement for one year’s tuition at the School, including transportation expenses, and reimbursement of the cost of a private evaluation that they obtained unilaterally.

The District asserts that its services were appropriate during the relevant period.

The hearing was completed in five sessions. I have determined the credibility of all witnesses and I have considered and weighed all of the evidence of record. I conclude that the District failed to provide a FAPE to Student, and I enter the appropriate equitable relief.

ISSUES

  1. During the relevant period of time, from November 16, 2013 to the first day of school in the 2015-2016 school year, did the District provide Student with an appropriate re- evaluation in compliance with all requirements of the IDEA and section 504?
  2. During the relevant period of time, did the District identify Student appropriately under the IDEA?
  3. During the relevant period of time, did the District offer and provide a FAPE to Student in compliance with the IDEA and section 504?
  4. Is the School an appropriate placement for Student?
  5. Considering the equities, should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse Parents for the cost of tuition for Student’s 2015-2016 school year and transportation expenses?
  6. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide Student with compensatory education for or on account of all or any part of the relevant period?
  7. Should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse Parents for the cost of a private evaluation, reported on February 23, 2015?
D-K-Bristol-Township-ODRNo-17036-15-16-KE

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