FF vs. School District of Philadelphia

Special Education Hearing Officer


Child’s Name: F.F.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 1661-1011 JS


Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

School District of Philadelphia 440 North Broad Street, Suite 313 Philadelphia, PA 19130


Deborah G. DeLauro, Esquire Thalheimer & Palumbo, PC. 1831 Chestnut Street, Suite 300 Philadelphia, PA 19103

Judith Baskin, Esquire
Office of General Counsel
440 North Broad Street, Suite 313 Philadelphia, PA 19130

Date of Resolution Meeting: April 8, 2011

Dates of Hearing: April 28, 2011, May 3, 2011

Record Closed: May 3, 2011

Date of Decision: May 8, 2011

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


Student is an eligible elementary school student; Student at all relevant times resided within the School District of Philadelphia (District). (NT 9-11.) The Student is identified with Other Health Impairment under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA). Ibid. Parents1 requested due process to challenge the District’s unilateral disciplinary removal of the Student to a disciplinary school for possession of a weapon. The District asserts that its action is justified by its manifestation determination and by the IDEA “special circumstances” rule permitting change of placement regardless of manifestation. The matter is bifurcated; I will address non-expedited additional allegations of a denial of a FAPE in a subsequent hearing.

The hearing was conducted on an expedited basis and concluded in two sessions. The record closed upon receipt of transcripts. I find that the unilateral change of placement was appropriate, but that the assigned interim alternative educational placement is inappropriate. I order the District to convene an IEP team as soon as possible to address new medical evidence and determine the appropriate placement and program for the Student.


  1. Was the District’s unilateral removal of Student from Student’s neighborhood school authorized under the IDEA “special circumstances” rule?
  2. Was the District’s manifestation determination appropriate?
  3. Is the Student’s pendent placement the neighborhood school or the interim alternative educational setting?
  4. Is the interim alternative educational setting to which Student is assigned appropriate?

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