Special Education Hearing Officer
Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx
ODR File No.: 6513/05-06 AS
Dates of Hearing: June 5, 2006
Parties to the Hearing:
North Penn School District 401 East Hancock Street Lansdale, PA 19446
Mark W. Voigt, Esquire
Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus, Suite 400 600 West Germantown Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Gina K. DePietro, Esquire
Sweet Stevens Tucker & Katz LLP 331 Butler Avenue, P.O. Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901
Date Transcript Received: June 8, 2006
Record Closed: June 8, 2006
Date of Decision: June 16, 2006
Hearing Officer: Rosemary E. Mullaly
I. Background and Procedural History
The Student is a resident of the North Penn School District (the “District”) who, was diagnosed with asthma in August 2004. He began the 2005-2006 school year as a seventh grade student at the Middle School. On November 11, 2005, the Student was diagnosed as suffering from severe asthma and allergy due to exposure to the cockroach aeroallergen. His asthma and allergies became so severe that on November 23, 2005, his physician placed him on homebound instruction. He remained on homebound at all times prior to the hearing in this matter. During the seven month excusal from school attendance, he received five hours a week of academic tutoring.
Proceeding under both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”), the parent asserts that the District failed to timely conduct a multidisciplinary team evaluation to determine if the Student was “a child with a disability” under the IDEA or an “otherwise qualified handicapped student” under Section 504; it failed to provide notice of procedural right to the Student’s parents; it failed to provide the Student with appropriate specially designed instruction; and it failed to offer a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. The parents seeks placement of the Student for the 2006-2007 school year in one of the other two District middle schools and 697.5 hours of compensatory education and prevailing party attorneys fees and costs.
The District acknowledges that the Student has a disability – specifically asthma and allergies, but asserts that it did not place the Student on homebound – it was doing exactly what his physician prescribed and his parent requested in the nature of an accommodation for his disability. Moreover, the Student does not qualify as a child with a disability under the IDEA because he does not meet the second criteria for eligibility for the classification of “other health impaired” student because he does not require specially designed instruction and related services.
B. Procedural History
The Office for Dispute Resolution received the parent’s hearing request in this matter on April 24, 2006. The single session hearing took place on June 5, 2006.
III. Issues Presented
A. Whether the District timely conducted an evaluation and offered a free appropriate public education to the Student as a “child with a disability” under the IDEA and/or “an otherwise qualified handicapped student” under Section 504?