JM vs. Rose Tree Media School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

ODR No. 13959-1213 KE

Child’s Name: J.M.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 9/17/13, 10/10/13, 10/14/13,

11/7/13, 11/8/13

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

School District
Rose Tree Media
308 North Olive Street Media, PA 19063

Representative:

Parent Attorney None

School District Attorney Gabrielle Sereni, Esquire Raffaele & Puppio, L.L.P. 19 W. Third Street Media, PA 19063

Date Record Closed: December 2, 2013

Date of Decision: December 15, 2013

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Parents in this case initially alleged a number of violations by the District that infringed both Parents’ and Student’s rights. After a ruling on the District’s sufficiency challenge that limited the issues to those implicating a denial of FAPE and/or discrimination on the basis of disability, the hearing proceeded on Parents’ claims that Student’s IEP was improperly implemented in one instance, that the District’s conduct prevented Student from participating in extracurricular activities during the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 school years, and that Student was generally not treated fairly with respect to [redacted] extracurricular activities.

The hearing on those claims was held over five sessions between mid-September and early November 2013. Although there was no doubt that Parents sincerely believed thatStudent’s non-participation in extracurricular activities during 11th and 12th grade was the District’s fault, the record established that it was Parents’ decisions in both instances that resulted in Student’s non-participation. There is also no doubt that Parents sincerely believed that the District was wrong with respect to the circumstances that led to their decision to withdraw Student from the activities, thereby justifying their decisions, and that Student did not have the same opportunities in an extracurricular activity as non-disabled students. The facts and applicable legal standards, however, do not support Parents’ claims as explained below.

ISSUES

  1. Did the School District violate Student’s IEP by failing to assure that an aide was present to facilitate peer social interactions resulting in a cyber-bullying incident in June 2011?
  2. Did the School District prevent Student from participating in extracurricular activities to the same extent as non-disabled peers from May 31, 2011 through the end of the 2012/2013 school year?
  3. If so, is Student entitled to an award of compensatory education and if compensatory education is due, what amount should be awarded and in what form?
J-M-Rose-Tree-Media-ODRNo-13959-1213-KE

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