JB vs. East Penn School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 00176-0910KE

Child’s Name: J.B.
Date of Birth: <redacted>
Dates of Hearing: 11/04/09, 11/24/09

OPEN HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

School District

East Penn
800 Pine Street Emmaus, PA 18049

Representative:

Parent Attorney

Angela Uliana-Murphy, Esquire 106 N. Franklin Street, Suite 2 P. O. Box 97
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

School District Attorney

Marc Fisher, Esquire Worth, Magee & Fisher 515 Linden Street Allentown, PA 18101

Date Record Closed January 2, 2010

Date of Decision: January 2, 2010

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student’s special education eligibility and needs arise from a primary diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder complicated by unpredictable and extreme aggressive behaviors. Student’s Parents believe <student> needs a private school placement where <student> can receive more individualized attention than in a District classroom. The District refused to consider an alternative placement, asserting that Student’s needs can be met in the District’s autistic support class, as established by Student’s progress in kindergarten, where Student’s behaviors were successfully managed with the instructional strategies and behavior plan in place for him.

Concluding the record in this matter was complicated by Parents’ inability to identify an appropriate private school for Student that will accept <student>, an unexpected circumstance that arose just prior to convening the second hearing session. As the first hearing session ended, Parents were awaiting a decision from two private schools that they believed would be appropriate for Student, but each school ultimately determined that it could not offer <student> admission.

At the end of the second hearing session, a partial evidentiary record had been compiled, directed entirely toward determining the appropriateness of the District’s program and placement. Because Parents wanted to continue exploring private placement alternatives, making it impossible to determine when the record could be completed, the parties were directed to submit closing arguments on the appropriateness of the District’s program/placement offer, as there is no need for further proceedings if that issue is decided in favor of the District.

Since the District provided Student with FAPE during the 2008/2009 school year and has offered a current program and placement for Student that is reasonably calculated to permit <student> to make meaningful progress, there is no need to re-convene the hearing. Accordingly, the record will be closed and Parents’ claims will be dismissed based upon the evidence as it stands.

ISSUES

  1. Has the District offered <student> an appropriate program and placement for the 2009/2010 school year?
  2. Did the District provide <student> with an appropriate
    program and placement during the 2008/2009 school year, specifically from January to June 2009?
  3. Did the District offer <student> an appropriate ESY program for the summer of 2009?
  4. If the District did not offer <student> an appropriate program and placement at any time since January 2009, in what form and in what amount should compensatory education be awarded?
J-B-East-Penn-ODRNo-00176-0910KE-

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