HD vs. Central Bucks School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

ODR No. 00984-0910KE 01215-0910KE

Child’s Name: H.D.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 7/7/10, 7/19/10, 8/20/10, 8/25/10, 12/14/10

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District
Central Bucks
16 Weldon Drive Doylestown, PA 18901-2359

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Ilene Young, Esquire 50 East Court Street Doylestown, PA 18901

School District Attorney Scott Wolpert, Esquire Timoney Knox
P.O. Box 7544

400 Maryland Drive
Fort Washington, P A 19034

Date Record Closed: April 14, 2011

Date of Decision: April 29, 2011

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This decision encompasses two cases for the same Student and School District with intertwined issues. The primary substantive issue underlying both due process complaints is the appropriateness of the District’s proposal to change the educational placement of Student from itinerant learning support services at Student’s home school to itinerant emotional support services at another elementary school in the District for the 2010/2011 school year.

The first due process complaint involved in this controversy was filed by the District in April 2010 to support the appropriateness of its Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) in response to Parents’ request for an independent FBA. After Parents’ motion to dismiss the District’s complaint was denied, Parents filed a due process complaint in June 2010 to challenge the District’s proposed IEP for the 2010/2011 school year. Four sessions of the consolidated hearing were held between July 7 and August 25, 2010, followed by an interim decision permitting the District to implement its proposed IEP for the beginning of the 2010/2011 school year.

After several discussions via conference call and e-mail during the fall of 2010/winter of 2011 concerning the need for additional evidence, and one more hearing session held in December 2010, the parties submitted written closing arguments for a final decision on the procedural and substantive issues originally raised in both complaints. Based upon a thorough review of the entire record and the applicable legal standards, as well as the conclusions reached in the August 27, 2010 interim decision, incorporated into this final decision and attached as an Appendix, the District’s refusal of Parents’ request for an independent FBA and its proposed change of Student’s placement were appropriate. Parents’ claims and contentions in these matters are, therefore, denied.

ISSUES

  1. Should the School District have funded an Independent Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) of Student at any time from March 2010 through the date of Parents’ independent educational evaluation in October 2011?
  2. Was it proper to permit the District’s due process complaint to support its FBA to proceed although the District’s complaint was filed before Parents responded to the District’s NOREP refusing their request for an independent FBA?
  3. Did the School District offer Student an appropriate educational program and placement in the least restrictive environment the 2010/2011 school year?
H-D-Central-Bucks-

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