Special Education Hearing Officer
ODR No. 2629-1112 KE
Child’s Name: J.C.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 1/30/12; 6/22/12
Parties to the Hearing: Parents
School District Wallenpaupack Area
Parent Attorney Heather Hulse, Esquire
School District Attorney Lucas Repka, Esquire
Date Record Closed: July 23, 2012
Date of Decision: August 15, 2012
Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This case presents two primary substantive issues: Whether Student, currently a [late teen-aged] resident of the District enrolled in the District high school, should have been identified as IDEA eligible as early as the spring of 2009 and whether, regardless of the District’s refusal to identify Student as IDEA eligible, it provided sufficient, appropriate services under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to meet Student’s educational needs arising from an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
At a brief hearing session on January 30, 2012, Parent took the testimony of three District staff members and produced a number of documents in support of her child find claim. The District cross-examined two of the witnesses but declined to introduce its own documents, call additional witnesses or conduct direct examinations of the District staff called by Parent, contending that there was insufficient evidence of an IDEA child find violation and requesting the opportunity to submit a motion to dismiss that aspect of Parent’s claims. The District’s request was granted, since the availability of some witnesses and the schedules of the parties and counsel would have delayed completion of the record without the motion.
After the District’s motion was denied, a second hearing session was held in June 2012, followed by written closing arguments. Based upon the testimony and documents, neither party prevails entirely in this matter, but Student is entitled to limited compensatory education from April 2011 through the end of the 2010/2011 school year and for the 2011/2012 school year.1 The School District will also be required to assure that Student receives appropriate supportive services during the 2012/2013 school year, depending upon Student’s behaviors and academic performance during the 2011/2012 school year and the beginning of the upcoming school year.
- Did the School District conduct appropriate evaluations of Student, followed by complete and accurate evaluation reports, and correctly conclude that Student is not eligible for special education services under the IDEA statute?
- Should the Student have been identified as IDEA eligible in any one or combination of the categories of emotional disturbance, other health impairment or specific learning disability?
- Did the School District provide Student with Service Agreements under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in accordance with federal and state regulatory standards that met Student’s educational needs at least as adequately as the needs of non-disabled Students?
- If the School District failed to appropriately identify Student as IDEA eligible and/or failed to provide adequate services under §504, is Student entitled to an award of compensatory education and if, so, in what period, in what amount and in what form?