GR vs. Colonial School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

EXPEDITED DECISION

Child’s Name: G.R.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Date of Hearing: 05/12/2017

ODR File No. 19036-1617AS

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents

Parent[s]

Local Education Agency

Colonial School District
230 Flourtown Road Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

Representative:

Student Attorney

Michael D. Raffaele, Esq.
Frankel & Kershenbaum, LLC 1230 County Line Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19012

LEA Attorney

Karl A. Romberger, Jr., Esq. Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams, LLP 331 E. Butler Ave.
New Britain, PA 18601

Date of Decision: 05/26/2017

Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford, JD, CHO

Introduction and Procedural History

This special education due process hearing was requested by the Parents, on behalf of their child (the Student) against the School District (District).1 This matter arises under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. The Parents appeal the District’s imposition of discipline, following an incident in which the Student brought a [weapon] to school. The Parents claim that the Student was “thought-to-be eligible” — an IDEA term of art discussed below — at the time of the incident.

This is an appeal of a disciplinary action pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k). Consequently, it is expedited. The Complaint was filed on April 10, 2017, and was originally scheduled for April 18, 2017. The matter was then continued upon the parties’ motions until May 12, 2017. The hearing then convened as scheduled during a single hearing session.

Between the filing and the hearing, the District moved to limit the scope of the hearing. H-1. The Parents responded. H-2. On May 3, 2017, I issued a Pre-Hearing Order. H-3. In the Pre-Hearing Order, I struck a demand for a determination that the Student’s actions were a manifestation of the Student’s disability. The Pre-Hearing Order speaks for itself. For context, however, that particular demand was premature. All other demands remained in place.

Issues

  1. Was the Student “thought-to-be eligible” at the time of the disciplinary incident?
  2. Must the District fund an independent educational evaluation (IEE) of the Student?
  3. Is the District required to maintain the Student’s pre-incident placement?
G-R-Colonial-School-ODRNo-No-19036-1617AS

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