IP vs. East Stroudsburg Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: I.P.

ODR #14136/13-14-KE

ODR #14287/13-14-KE

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: October 11, 2013 October 29, 2013

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent

East Stroudsburg Area School District 321 N. Courtland Street
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301

Representative:
Phillip Drumheiser, Esquire 2202 Circle Road
Carlisle, PA 17013

Anne Hendricks, Esquire
1301 Masons Mill Business Park 1800 Byberry Road
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Date Record Closed: November 4, 2013

Date of Decision: November 16, 2013

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Official

Background

This decision addresses two Due Process Complaints, the first filed by the District and the second filed by the Parent. The hearing officer, with the parties being in agreement, consolidated the Complaints into one Due Process Hearing.

Student1 is an early teen-aged 8th grade student who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] under the current classification of Other Health Impairment secondary to diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder2 and adjustment disorder with mood disturbance. Given IDEA eligibility, Student is also a protected handicapped individual under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [Section 504].

The District has determined that in order to receive a free appropriate public education [FAPE] Student requires placement in the Therapeutic Emotional Support [TES] program that is operated by the Intermediate Unit [IU] in a middle school in a neighboring district. The Parent maintains that the Student should remain in the current school.

The Parent alleges that from July 17, 20113 to the present the District has denied Student FAPE in the area of written expression including failure to conduct an occupational therapy evaluation and a sensory integration evaluation as well as in the area of positive behavior support. The Parent believes that Student is entitled to compensatory education for the alleged denial of FAPE. The District maintains that it has provided Student with FAPE at all relevant times.

In a prehearing conference it was determined that although both parties agreed that Student should receive an independent psychiatric evaluation funded by the District, they could not agree upon the evaluator. The hearing officer decided that rather than present testimony and evidence on this issue the parties should submit the names and resumes of their preferred psychiatrist[s] after which the hearing officer would choose the evaluator. [NT 31-33] In accord with the information presented, the hearing officer chose one of the psychiatrists preferred by the Parent and issued correspondence to this effect along with a delineation of the purposes of the psychiatric evaluation. [NT 320; HO-1]

Issues

1. In order to receive FAPE should Student be placed in a supplementary emotional support program, specifically the IU-operated Therapeutic Emotional Support [TES] program located in a public middle school in a neighboring school district?

2. Did the District fail to provide Student with FAPE from July 17, 2011 to the present in the area of written expression, specifically occupational therapy and an assistive technology evaluation, and/or by failing to provide an appropriate positive behavior support plan?

I-P-East-Stroudsburg-Area-ODRNo-14136-13-14-KE-ODRNo-14287-13-14-KE

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