IR vs. Stroudsburg Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: I.R.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 17114-15-16-AS

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent(s)

Stroudsburg Area School District 123 Linden Street
Stroudsburg, PA 18360

Representative:

James J. Conaboy, Esquire
Abrahamsen, Conaboy & Abrahamsen, P.C. 1006 Pittston Avenue
Scranton, PA 18505

Kristine Roddick, Esquire
King, Spry, Herman, F & F LLC One West Broad Street, Su. 700 Bethlehem, PA 18018

Dates of Hearing: January 14, 2016; February 17, 2016; February 29, 2016; March 30, 2016

Record Closed: April 18, 2016

Date of Decision: May 3, 2016

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Esq., CHO

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The child named in this matter (Student)1 is a resident of the District named in this matter (District). Student is identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA), as a child with the disabilities of Autism, Intellectual Disability and Speech or Language Impairment. Student is enrolled in the District but Parents have kept Student home from school since October 2015. Parents assert that Student should never be physically restrained, that the frequent use of physical restraint in Student’s placement was harming Student. They urge the conclusion that Student’s placement and the IEP proposed by the District fail to offer a FAPE.

The District requests due process in order to determine whether or not it has offered a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to Student. The District also requests an order authorizing it to re-evaluate Student without parental consent. Parents did not file for due process and are not requesting a hearing officer order. Their assertions of fact are pertinent only as a defense to the District’s complaint.

The hearing was conducted in four sessions between January and March 2016. The closing of the record was delayed because the hearing officer directed that Parents produce Student’s therapist for testimony, thus adding a session and requiring accommodation of the therapist’s schedule. (NT 45-47.) Due to the nature of the issues, written summations were needed, and the record closed upon receipt of summations. I conclude that the District has offered a FAPE, and I authorize the District to re-evaluate Student in the absence of parental consent.

ISSUES

  1. Does the June 10, 2015 IEP, as revised, offer Student a free appropriate public education as defined in the IDEA?
  1. Is Student’s current placement in a full-time autistic support classroom operated by the governing Intermediate Unit and located in the Student’s neighborhood school an appropriate placement, notwithstanding the classroom program’s use of restraint?
  2. Should the Hearing Officer authorize the District to proceed with a re-evaluation of the Student, notwithstanding Parents’ revocation and withholding of consent?
I-R-Stroudsburg-Area-ODRNo-17114-15-16-AS

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