JM vs. School District of Philadelphia

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Student’s Name: J.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 2166-11-12-KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

School District of Philadelphia 440 North Broad Street, Suite 313 Philadelphia, PA 19130

Representative:

Sonja Kerr, Esquire
Monica Lawrence, Esquire
Elizabeth S. Morgan, Esquire
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 2d Floor Philadelphia, PA 19103

Brian E. Subers, Esquire
Fox Rothschild, LLP
10 Sentry Parkway, Suite 200 P.O. Box 3001
Blue Bell, PA 19422-3001

Date of Hearing: September 27, 2011

Record Closed: October 3, 2011

Date of Decision: October 15, 2011

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is an eligible resident of the School District of Philadelphia (District), and attended its elementary schools during the time relevant to the captioned matter. (NT 22-23.) Student is not identified as a child with a disability pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA). (NT 24.) The District has provided a service contract on account of disability as defined and provided by the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 (section 504). (NT 24.)

On August 1, 2011, the Parent filed a Complaint Notice (complaint) requesting due process and asserting, among other things, that the District failed to identify Student under the IDEA in the categories of Hearing Impairment and Other Health Impairment (allegedly required due to Student’s diabetes), thus depriving Student of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The complaint seeks relief for an alleged period of deprivation beginning in September 2005, including a period more than two years prior to the date of filing. (NT 13.)

The District asserted the statutory limitation of actions set forth in the IDEA, 20 U.S.C §1415(f)(3)(C). By order dated September 1, 2011, I bifurcated the matter, retaining under the present caption only the issue of the IDEA limitation defense, and directing the opening of a new matter, ODR case number 2282-11-12-KE, in which I will address all of the remaining, substantive, issues raised by the complaint.1

The hearing was conducted in one session and the record closed upon receipt of transcript. I conclude that the Parents’ claims should be limited to alleged actions or inactions of the District that occurred or did not occur during a period no more than two years prior to the date of filing of the request for due process.2

ISSUES

  1. Did the Parent know, or should the Parent have known, of the District actions or inactions of which Parent complains, more than two years prior to the date of filing?
  2. Did the District prevent Parent from filing for due process within two years of knowledge or notice of any alleged action or inaction of the District, through a specific misrepresentation that the District had addressed the problem alleged regarding the action or inaction of the District?
  3. Did the District prevent Parent from filing for due process within two years of knowledge or notice of any alleged action or inaction of the District, by withholding any information that the IDEA requires to be disclosed?
J-M-School-District-of-Philadelphia-ODRNo-2166-11-12-KE

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