EK vs. Warwick School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: EK

ODR #9528/08-09 KE

Date of Birth: Xx/xx/xx

Dates of Hearing: February 20, 2009 April 21, 2009 May 1, 2009 May 18, 2009

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Ms.

Warwick School District 301 W. Orange Street Lititz, Pennsylvania 17543

Representative:
Vivian Narehood, Esquire Gibbel, Kraybill & Hess
41 East Orange Street Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602

Jeffrey Champagne, Esquire McNees, Wallace & Nurick 100 Pine Street PO Box 166 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17108

Date Record Closed: June 9, 2009

Date of Decision: June 21, 2009

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D.

Background

Student is an eligible late-teen-aged student with the disability classification of Other Health Impaired due to reported Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Student has a long history of drug addiction. Student’s mother, Ms. (hereinafter Parent) lives in the Warwick School District (hereinafter District). Along with attending schools in the District Student has been enrolled in two religiously-affiliated schools. In February 2009 the Parent unilaterally placed Student at [private out-of-state residential school] (hereinafter School), a residential school in [city and state redacted] after disapproving the District’s offer of an alternative educational placement at [redacted offered placement] (hereinafter Offered Placement) for the 2008-2009 school year.

The Parent requested this hearing, asserting that the District had failed to timely identify Student as a student who was eligible for special education in November 2006 and that Student was therefore entitled to compensatory education. The Parent also asserts that the placement the District offered for the 2008-2009 school year was inappropriate for Student and that therefore tuition reimbursement for the private placement is warranted. The District assets that it timely identified Student in August 2008, that its proposed placement was appropriate, and that tuition reimbursement is not warranted.

Issues

Did the Warwick School District deny Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) from December 5, 2006 to December 5, 2008 through a failure to appropriately evaluate Student in November 20061, thereby declaring Student ineligible and failing in its Child Find obligation?

If the Warwick School District denied Student a free, appropriate public education, is Student entitled to compensatory education, in what form and in what amount?

Did the Warwick School District fail to provide or offer an appropriate program and placement for Student for the 2008-2009 school year?

If the Warwick School District failed to provide or offer an appropriate program and placement for Student for the 2008-2009 school year, was the placement unilaterally chosen by Student’s mother appropriate?

If the Warwick School District failed to provide or offer an appropriate program and placement for Student , and the placement unilaterally chosen by Student’s mother, was appropriate, are there equitable considerations that would remove or reduce the District’s obligation for tuition reimbursement?

EK-Warwick-ODRNo-9528-08-09-KE

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