ER vs. Ridley School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: ER

ODR #9519/08-09 KE

Date of Birth: XX/XX/XX

Dates of Hearing: January 29, 2009 February 10, 2009 March 10, 2009

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Mr. and Mrs.

Ridley School District
1001 Morton Avenue Folsom, Pennsylvania 19003

Representative:
Alan Yatvin, Esquire
Popper & Yatvin
230 S. Broad Street, Ste. 503 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102

John Reilly, Esquire
101 West Baltimore Avenue Media, Pennsylvania 19063

Last Transcript Received: March 17, 2009

Record Closed April 6, 2009

Date of Decision: April 21, 2009

Hearing Officer: Deborah G. DeLauro, M.Ed, J.D.

Background

Student is primary school aged student who resides in the Ridley School District (hereinafter “District”). Student has numerous health related disabilities, including severe allergies. [N.T. 40-41,83,576,578,598; D-5] An EpiPen (epinephrine) must be available at all times due to the risk of anaphylactic shock from allergies. [N.T. 40] [N.T. 41-42; SD-1; P-2]

Student entered the District as a kindergartener. Student attended [redacted] Elementary School (hereinafter “Elementary”) for kindergarten (2006-2007) and first grade (2007-2008). Prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, Student’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. (hereinafter “Parents”) unilaterally enrolled Student in the [redacted] School (hereinafter “Private School”), a private school specializing in educating students with learning disabilities.

The Parents requested this hearing seeking compensatory education for alleged violations of the IDEIA and §504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and tuition reimbursement, including transportation, for Student’s 2008-2009 school year enrollment in the Private School. Parents assert Child Find violations starting in February 2007 for failure to identify Student as a child with special needs until the Spring 2008 when Student was found eligible for specially designed instruction in the areas of reading, math and writing. Parents next assert that the Individual Education Plan (hereinafter “IEP”) was inappropriate and its implementation was untimely resulting in the denial of a Free Appropriate Education (hereinafter “FAPE”) from March 28, 2008. Finally, Parents assert that the District violated Student’s rights under §504 by excluding Student from participation in, denying Student the benefits of, and subjecting Student to discrimination at school.

Issues

  1. Is the Ridley School District required to provide compensatory education services to Student for school years 2006-2007and 2007-2008 for failing to provide FAPE and for alleged violations of §504 of the Rehabilitation Act?
  2. Is the Ridley School District required to reimburse Mr. and Mrs. for tuition, including transportation, at the Private School in which they unilaterally placed Student for the 2008-2009 school year, based on their assertion that the District failed to provide Student with FAPE for the 2008-2009 school year?
ER-Ridley-ODRNo-9519-08-09-KE

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