ES vs. Marple Newtown School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: E. S.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 17621-15-16-AS

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Marple Newtown School District 40 Media Line Road
Newtown Square, PA 19073

Representative: Pro Se

Karl A. Romberger, Jr., Esquire Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams LLC 331 East Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18901

Date of Hearing: July 6, 2016

Record Closed: July 12, 2016

Date of Decision: July 21, 2016

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Esquire, CHO

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The child named in this matter (Student)1 is a late-teen-aged child and attends a private school. Student was an eligible enrollee of the school district named in this matter (District) from first grade (2004-2005 school year) until eighth grade (2011-2012 school year). Parents unilaterally withdrew Student from the District after eighth grade, starting Student in a parochial school in September 2012 for the beginning of ninth grade (2012-2013 school year). (NT 16-17.) Student never returned to the District after September 2012; sometime after withdrawal from the District, Parents enrolled Student in Student’s present private school. (NT 16-17.) Student is classified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA) as a child with the disability that IDEA labels as Specific Learning Disability.

Student’s parents (Parents) requested due process on April 13, 2016, asserting a number of claims based upon the IDEA, asserting that the District failed to provide Student with appropriate services when Student was enrolled in the District in and before 2012. The District asserts that the IDEA statute of limitations bars Parents from proceeding, because Parents waited more than the two years allowed by the IDEA to ask for a hearing about events that happened in or before September 2012. 20 U.S.C. §1415(f)(3)(C).

Parents concede that the IDEA statute of limitations had expired on all of their claims when they filed this request for due process, but they argue that an exception to the statute of limitations applies, nullifying the limitations period. They assert that the District failed to provide them with their Procedural Safeguards Notice, thus “withholding” information required by the IDEA, Part B, to be provided to Parents. 20 U.S.C. §1415(f)(3)(D)(ii). The District denies this.

I convened a hearing solely to receive evidence as to the application of the “withholding” exception in this matter. This is the only assertion of Parents as to why the IDEA statute of limitations does not apply to bar all of their claims.

The hearing was completed in one session. I have determined the credibility of all witnesses and I have considered and weighed all of the evidence of record. I conclude that the “withholding” exception to the IDEA statute of limitations does not apply. Consequently I dismiss this matter in its entirety.

ISSUES

  1. Did the District withhold the Procedural Safeguards Notice from Parents?
  2. If so, did the District’s withholding of the Procedural Safeguards Notice cause Parents to not request due process within two years of the actions forming the basis of their complaint?
E-S-Marple-Newtown-ODRNo-17621-15-16-AS

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