HS vs. Northampton Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

FINAL DECISION AND ORDER

Student’s Name: H.S.

Date of Birth: [redacted]
ODR Nos. 14177-1314AS, 14208-1314AS (Consolidated)

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parent[s]

Northampton Area School District 2014 Laubach Avenue Northampton, PA 18067

Representative:

Dean M. Beer, Esq. 30 Cassatt Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312

Joanne Sommer, Esq.
60 E. Court Street
P.O. Box 1389
Doylestown, PA 18901-0137

Dates of Hearing: 09/24/2013, 11/20/2013, 12/05/2013, 12/06/2013

Record Closed: 01/06/2014

Date of Decision: 01/17/2014

Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford

Introduction and Procedural History

These consolidated matters arise under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), 34 C.F.R. Part 104.4.

The District filed a due process complaint on August 6, 2013 (District’s Complaint). The District’s Complaint was assigned ODR Number 14177-1314AS. The District’s Complaint was filed in response to the Parent’s request for an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense. Generally, the IDEA requires school districts to initiate a hearing when rejecting IEE requests.

The Parent filed a separate due process complaint on August 16, 2013 (Parent’s Complaint). The Parent’s Complaint was assigned ODR Number 14208-1314AS. The Parent’s Complaint alleged various violations of the IDEA and Section 504. The Parent’s Complaint included demands for an appropriate program and placement, compensatory education, and an IEE (including a neuropsychological evaluation, psychiatric evaluation, and functional behavioral assessment) at public expense.1 The Parent withdrew the demand for an independent neuropsychological evaluation during the second session of this hearing. (N.T. 271).

Through preliminary correspondence and orders, these matters were consolidated and heard together. One record was generated for both files, and this Decision and Order resolves all issues presented in both complaints.

As this hearing commenced, an issue concerning the Student’s pendent placement became evident. At the same time, the parties agreed that the Parent revoked consent for special education for a period of time, but disagreed about the legal consequences of the revocation. Evidence and testimony concerning pendency and the consent revocation was taken during the first hearing session. On November 1, 2013, I issued a Pre-Hearing Order determining that the Student’s pendent placement was in regular education. In the same Pre-Hearing Order, I determined that the consent revocation was effective from September 11, 2012 through April 24, 2013. For reasons stated in the Pre-Hearing Order, I concluded that the Parent may pursue claims arising under Section 504, but not the IDEA, from September 11, 2012 through April 24, 2013. The Pre-Hearing Order is attached hereto as Appendix A.

Issues

  1. Was the Student denied a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in violation of the IDEA and Section 504 from August 16, 2011 through September 11, 2012? If so, is the Student entitled to compensatory education as a remedy?
  2. Was the Student denied a FAPE in violation of Section 504 from September 11, 2012 through April 24, 2013? If so, is the Student owed compensatory education as a remedy?
  3. Was the Student denied a FAPE from April 24, 2013 through the present, ongoing, in violation of the IDEA and Section 504? If so, is the Student owed compensatory education as a remedy?
  4. Is the Parent entitled to an IEE, including a psychiatric evaluation and a functional behavioral evaluation (FBA) at public expense?
H-S-Northampton-Area-ODRNo-14177-1314AS

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