DM vs. School District Centennial

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 2027-1011 AS

Child’s Name: D.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Date of Hearing: 8/16/11

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

School District Centennial
433 Centennial Road Warminster, PA 18974

Representative:

Parent[s] Attorney None

School District Attorney
Anne Hendricks, Esquire
Levin Legal Group
1301 Masons Mill Business Park 1800 Byberry Road

Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Date Record Closed: August 22, 2011

Date of Decision: September 1, 2011

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The primary issue in this case is whether the District’s proposal to assign Student to a supplemental life skills support program for the 2011/2012 school year is appropriate. Student is entering middle school, where there is no hearing support program, the special education placement to which Student had been assigned throughout elementary school.

Parents’ June 22, 2011 due process complaint alleges that the District’s placement proposal was based upon administrative convenience due to the lack of a hearing support program at the middle school level rather than upon Student’s needs. Parents are particularly concerned that the District’s proposal significantly reduces the hearing support services Student has received in the past, is not academically suitable and provides fewer opportunities for inclusion with non-disabled peers. Parents suggested that if the District is not required to create a middle school hearing support class, Student should be placed in either a learning support or autistic support program.

A one session hearing was conducted in this matter on August 16, 2011. Although Parents understandably want an educational placement in which Student has the opportunity to thrive, they conceded at the hearing that Student is likely to succeed in the District’s proposed placement. Based upon the evidence and the applicable legal standards, Parents did not establish that the District’s proposal is inappropriate for Student. Moreover, the District provided ample evidence suggesting that Student is likely to do very well in the proposed life skills program, and even to thrive in that setting. Consequently, Parents’ claims in this matter are denied and the District is permitted to implement its proposed program and placement for the 2011/2012 school year.

ISSUE

Has the School District proposed an appropriate special education program and placement for Student for the 2011/2012 school year, including

  1. sufficient opportunities for inclusion with non-disabled peers;
  2. a sufficient level of hearing support services?
D-M-Centennial-ODRNo-2027-1011-AS

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