JN vs. Seneca Valley School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: J.N.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing:

June 10, 2013 July 8, 2013 July 15, 2013 July 18, 2013 August 7, 2013

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Case #13719-1213KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Seneca Valley School District 124 Seneca School Road Harmony, PA 16037

Representative:

Arthur Feldman, Esquire 1010 LaClair Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15218

Christina Lane, Esquire Andrews & Price
1500 Ardmore Boulevard Suite 506

Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Date Record Closed: September 9, 2013

Date of Decision: September 24, 2013

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[Student] (“student”) is a [pre-teenaged] student residing in the Seneca Valley School District (“District”). The parties agree, at this time, that the student qualifies under the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEA”)1 for specially designed instruction/related services for autism and specific learning disabilities.2

Parents assert a number of claims that amount, in parents’ view, to the denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”). Parents assert that:

the District did not timely identify the student as having specific learning disabilities;

the individualized education plans (“IEPs”) which guided the student’s educational programming in the 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 school years were inappropriate;

specifically, the student was denied FAPE regarding the handling of music education;

in not offering extended school year (“ESY”) programming in summer 2011, the student was denied FAPE, and that ESY programming

for the summer of 2012, though offered, was unavailable to the student given the District’s decision that transportation would not be provided; an alleged failure to address the student’s needs resulted in bullying which, in turn, led to the removal of the student to the more restrictive environment of homebound instruction (which was also, in parents’ view, occasioned by a prejudicial delay in arranging for homebound instruction); and the District engaged in retaliation against the parents as a result of their request for a later transportation pick-up time given needs arising out of the student’s disability.

As a result of these claims, parents claim that compensatory education should be awarded for a 2-year period prior to the filing of their complaint in April 2013. The District counters that, at all times, it met its obligations under the IDEA and provided the student with FAPE.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the parents on certain issues and in favor of the District on other issues.

ISSUES

Was the student provided with FAPE
in the 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 school years?

Did the District retaliate against the parents in its decisions regarding transportation?

If the answer to either or both
of the foregoing question(s) is/are in the affirmative, what remedy is available to the student?

J-N-Seneca-Valley-ODRNo-13719-1213KE

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