DM GM MM vs. Lancaster-Lebanon IU-EI Program

DECISION
Due Process Hearing for Student DM, Student GM, and Student MM

ODR File Nos. 8867, 8868, and 8869/07-08 AS

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx

Dates of Hearing: July 14, August 28, September 17, and October 15, 2008 – Closed Hearing

Parties to the Hearing: Ms.

Lancaster-Lebanon IU/EI Program 1020 New Holland Avenue Lancaster, PA 17601

Representative:

Phillip Drumheiser, Esq. P.O. Box 890
Carlisle, PA 17013

Jeffrey Champagne, Esq. McNees, Wallace & Nurick 100 Pine St., P.O. Box 1166 Harrisburg, PA 17108-1166

Hearing Officer: Debra K. Wallet, Esq.

Record Closed: November 19, 2008

Date of Decision: December 4, 2008

BACKGROUND:

Student D, Student G, and Student M are xx-year-old triplets (date of birth xx/xx/xx) born to [redacted] [hereinafter Mother]. Students D and M, but not G, received some Early Intervention services for speech and physical needs from birth to age three. Upon enrollment in the beginning of the 2007-08 school year, the [redacted] School District [hereinafter H School District] did not evaluate the children but provided Students D and M with Instructional Support Services. The family then moved in March 2008 to the [redacted] School District [hereinafter M School District] where Mother asked that all three of the children be evaluated for eligibility for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §§1400 et seq. [hereinafter IDEA]. The results of these evaluations are not known.

On May 14, 2008, Mother filed a due process complaint on behalf of each of her three children alleging that the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 [hereinafter Intermediate Unit] violated its Child Find duties under the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794 [hereinafter Section 504], in failing to evaluate and provide special education needs for these three children between ages three and five. Mother requests compensatory education from May 14, 2006 until September 1, 2007, the start of the H School District’s school year, and reimbursement for an independent evaluation by a school psychologist whose testimony was presented at this hearing. Because of the commonality of issues, Mother requested a joint due process hearing which request was granted by the Hearing Officer.

The Intermediate Unit argues that there has been no violation of any Child Find obligation because Mother opted for private pre-school services rather than public-sector services offered by the Intermediate Unit at the time of transition at age three. Repeated explicit notice of the availability of preschool disability-related services had been provided to Mother but she declined these services. According to the Intermediate Unit, sufficient Child Find outreach efforts are provided to the general public and were provided particularly to Mother.

ISSUES:

  1. Did the Intermediate Unit fail in its Child Find responsibilities under the IDEA?
  2. Did the Intermediate Unit fail in its responsibilities under Section 504?
  3. Should compensatory education be awarded?
  4. Should the Intermediate Unit pay for the cost of the private evaluation of these three children by psychologist Mr. B?
DM-GM-MM-Lancaster-Lebanon-IU-EI-ODRNo-8867-and-8868-and-8869-07-08-AS

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