FW vs. Stroudsburg Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: F.W.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: 3/25/2015, 4/20/2015

OPEN HEARING
ODR File No. 15806-14-15- AS

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

Local Education Agency Stroudsburg Area School District 123 Linden Street
Stroudsburg, PA 18360

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Joseph Montgomery Esq. Montgomery Law LLC 1500 Walnut Street #700 Philadelphia, PA 19102 215-650-7563

LEA Attorney
Timothy E. Gilsbach Esq.
Kristine Marakovits-Roddick Esq. King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC
One West Broad Street, Suite 700 Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-332-0390

Date of Decision: June 9, 2015
Hearing Officer: William Culleton Esq., CHO

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is a resident of the District who graduated from middle school to high school within the last two years. (NT 6-7; J 1.) Student is a qualified individual with a disability protected by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504). (NT 6-8.) Student is thought to be a child with a disability pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA). (6-7.)

Parents assert that the District failed to fulfill its “child find” obligation under the IDEA, and section 504. Parents1 assert that the District failed to provide Student with a FAPE under both the IDEA and section 504 during the period permitted by the IDEA statute of limitations, from January 19, 2013 to the present (“relevant period”). (NT 39-40.) In particular, Parents assert that the District denied Student a FAPE by failing to respond appropriately to bullying by Student’s peers over a period of several years, and by failing to address Student’s educational needs for social skills. Parents seek compensatory education and prospective relief. The District denies all allegations.

The hearing was completed in two sessions. I conclude that the District failed to comply with its IDEA child find obligations, failed to provide appropriate section 504 service agreements, failed to provide a FAPE under section 504, and failed to address Student’s victimization and cyber bullying in December 2014 and January and February 2015. I order both compensatory education and prospective relief.

ISSUES

  1. Did the District fail to perform its “child find” obligation to Student under the IDEA, by failing to evaluate Student appropriately, from January 19, 2013 to the last day of hearing in this matter?
  2. Did the District provide the Student with appropriate section 504 service agreements, addressing all of Student’s educational needs, from January 19, 2013 to the last day of hearing in this matter?
  3. Did the District provide Student with a FAPE under the IDEA and section 504, from January 19, 2013 to the last day of hearing in this matter?
  4. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide Student with compensatory education for all or any part of the period from January 19, 2013 until such time as the District should provide Student with an appropriate program and placement?
  5. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide Student with any educational services prospectively?
  6. Should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse Parents for the fees of their private evaluator?
F-W-Stroudsburg-Area-ODRNo-15806-14-15-AS

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