ER vs. School District Central Dauphin

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 2654-1112

Child’s Name: E.R.
Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: 1/17/12

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent

School District
Central Dauphin
600 Rutherford Road Harrisburg, PA 171o0-5227

Representative:

Parent Attorney None

School District Attorney Christopher J. Conrad Marshall, Dennehey
4200 Crums Mill Road, Suite B Harrisburg, PA 17112

Date Record Closed: January 20, 2012

Date of Decision: January 31, 2012

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student enrolled in the District during the 2010/2011 school year as an IDEA eligible student with the disability categories of specific learning disabilities (SLD) and emotional disturbance (ED). The District implemented Student’s last IEP from the prior school district, placing Student in a supplemental academic and emotional support class until a 3 year reevaluation was completed by the District in March 2011. Following a meeting to review the reevaluation report (RR) and develop a new IEP, Student’s IDEA eligibility in the SLD category was confirmed, and with Parent’s approval, Student’s placement was changed to itinerant learning support. The District requested permission to conduct a psychiatric evaluation to confirm or rule out ED as an additional disability category, but Parent refused.

During the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 school years, Student displayed no significantly defiant or aggressive behavior in a school setting, and no aggression toward staff, until an incident in November 2011 which led to expulsion after a hearing before the school board. Before referral to the board, the District members of Student’s IEP team conducted a manifestation determination review and concluded that the incident was not a manifestation of Student’s disability, and was not a direct result of the District’s failure to implement Student’s IEP. Parent was invited, but declined to attend the manifestation determination review meeting. Since the expulsion, Student has been receiving special education services in an alternative educational setting.

Parent challenged the December 5, 2011 expulsion decision by filing a due process complaint on December 9. A one session expedited hearing was conducted on January 17, 2012. For the reasons that follow, the District’s determination that Student was subject to the same discipline as any regular education student is upheld.

ISSUES

Before referring Student to the School Board for a hearing that resulted in a change of Student’s educational placement for disciplinary reasons, specifically, expulsion, did the District conduct an appropriate manifestation determination review in accordance with IDEA requirements?

Was Student subjected to a disciplinary change of placement by the School District for conduct that (a) was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to Student’s disability or (b) was the direct result of the District’s failure to implement Student’s IEP?

E-R-Central-Dauphin-ODRNo-2654-1112

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