JA vs. Local Educational Agency School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

OPEN HEARING
ODR File No. 19171-1617KE

Parties to the Hearing Parent
Parent[s]

Local Educational Agency School District of Philadelphia 440 N Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19130

Representative

Pro se

LEA Attorney
Andrea Cola, Esq.
Office of General Counsel 440 N Broad Street, Suite 313 Philadelphia, PA 19130

Child’s Name: J.A.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: 06/30/2017, 07/17/2017, 07/18/2017, 07/19/2017

Date of Decision: 08/07/2017

Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford, JD, CHO

Introduction

This special education due process hearing concerns the education of a student (the Student), who is a student in the School District of Philadelphia (the District).1 The District is the Student’s Local Educational Agency (LEA). The Student’s grandparent (the Grandparent) is the Student’s legal guardian, and has all the same rights as a parent for purposes of this hearing.

The Grandparent claims that the District retaliated against her and the Student. The Grandparent also claims that the District failed to implement the Student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and Positive Behavior Support Plan (PBSP). As a result, the Grandparent alleges that the Student was denied a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The Grandparent demands compensatory education and an injunction prohibiting the District from engaging in the alleged retaliatory conduct.

The Grandparent filed this complaint shortly after the District requested a due process hearing to reevaluate the Student and change the Student’s placement while the reevaluation is pending. The District complaint (ODR No. 19053-1617KE) was heard on a single record with this case. Although I must issue separate decisions for each complaint, there is overlap between the findings and analysis in each case.

As discussed below, this matter arises 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), 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq. As explained to the parties at the outset of this hearing, I have jurisdiction to hear retaliation claims only as they relate to a denial of FAPE.

Issues

The Grandparent alleges ten specific claims against the District. The Grandparent does not delineate between which claims amount to retaliation, and which claims are failures to implement the Student’s IEP or PBSP. The Grandparent alleges the following:

  1. The District documented behaviors that did not occur.
  2. The District conducted a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) that was based on false information.
  3. The Student’s tests and grades were altered.
  4. The Student’s homework was not sent home.
  5. The Grandparent’s emails were ignored.
  6. Teachers asked the Grandparent to administer tests at home.
  7. The Student was either not given notes for tests, or notes were sent home only one or two days before a test.
  8. The Student’s sibling was questioned by District personnel.
  9. The Student was excluded from a class trip.
  10. The District did not follow the Student’s Positive Behavior Support Plan (PBSP).
J-A-School-District-of-Philadelphia-ODRNo-19171-1617KE

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