EW vs. Harrisburg City School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: E.W.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 00787-0910 KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Harrisburg City School District Special Education Department 2101 North Front Street, Bldg #2 Harrisburg, PA 17110-1081

Representative: Pro Se

Shawn D. Lochinger, Esquire Rhoads & Sinon, LLP
One South Market Square, 12th Floor P.O. Box 1146
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1146

Date of Resolution Session Waived

Date of Hearing: May 7, 2010

Date of Ruling: May 23, 2010

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is a preteen-aged eligible student; Mother (Parent) indicates that the Student now lives with Student’s grandmother in [another school district]. (NT 17-5 to 18-19.) At all times relevant to this matter, the Student was in the fifth grade in the [redacted] Elementary School of the Harrisburg City School District (District). (NT 39-15 to 19.) The Student is identified with a Specific Learning Disability in reading and mathematics. (NT 18-5 to 19.) The hearing in this matter was completed on one day, May 7, 2010.

The Parent requested due process on March 8, 2010. (HO-1.) In her Complaint Notice, on an ODR form, the Parent requested an expedited hearing to obtain Extended School Year (ESY) services for the Student. Ibid. At the hearing, however, the Parent abandoned her request for an expedited hearing, because she wanted the hearing to focus on the District’s alleged failure to provide FAPE and on the Parent’s request for compensatory education. (NT 18-21 to 22-20.)

The Parent requested an amended special education program – including protection from bullying, a behavior plan and ESY1 – and compensatory education for an alleged failure to provide a FAPE to the Student during the 2009-2010 school year; she also asserted that the District had brought charges against the Student for assaulting a teacher, and she requested that all such charges be dropped. (NT 330-6 to 17.) The Parent complained that the Student was failing Student’s courses and that the District’s IEP was not helping the Student to succeed. (NT 10-11 to 24, 19- 14 to 20-7, 25-17 to 27-19.) The District asserted that it had provided a FAPE and that the Student had made meaningful progress; it asserted that any failures on the Student’s report card were due to non-attendance. (NT 34-23 to 35-20.)

The Parent asserted that she had complained also in a written document to the District that the Student had not received FAPE from the date of Student’s registration with the District in 2009. (NT 77-13 to 14.)

The District subsequently found and forwarded this document to me and it is dated November 2009; it is marked received – presumably by the District – on February 2, 2010. (HO-2.) This was admitted into evidence on May 11, 2010 and made a part of the record. 2 The transcript was received on May 12, at which time the record closed.

ISSUES

  1. Did the District provide the student with a free appropriate public education, from February 2009 to May 7, 2010, in the areas of reading, mathematics and behavior?
  2. Did the District provide the Student with an environment safe from bullying, sufficient to permit the Student to make meaningful educational progress in the areas of reading, mathematics and behavior?
  3. Did the District provide services in an appropriate location, sufficient to permit the Student to make meaningful educational progress in the areas of reading, mathematics and behavior?
  4. Should the hearing officer order the District to convene an IEP meeting to amend the IEP for the purpose of providing appropriate services to the Student with respect to protection from bullying, behavioral control, academics and ESY?
  5. Should the hearing officer order the District to pay compensatory education for the period from February 2009 to May 7, 2010?
E-W-Harrisburg-City-ODRNo-00787-0910-KE

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