JP vs. Big Beaver Falls Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: J. P.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: March 26, 2012 May 15, 2012 May 24, 2012

OPEN HEARING

ODR Case # 2787-1112KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Big Beaver Falls Area School District 150 8th Avenue
Beaver Falls, PA 15010

Representative: Pro Se

Andrew Evankovich, Esquire Andrews & Price
1500 Ardmore Boulevard Suite 506

Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Date Record Closed: June 11, 2012

Date of Decision: July 12, 2012

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The student1 is a[n elementary school-aged] student who formerly resided in the Big Beaver Falls Area School District (“District”). The parties dispute whether, when the student attended at the District, the student should have been identified by the District as a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”) and Pennsylvania special education regulations (“Chapter 14”),2 as well as whether the District had analogous obligations to the student under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (specifically under Section 504 of that statute, hence the follow-on reference to “Section 504”) and Pennsylvania education regulations which implement Section 504 (“Chapter 15”).3 Particularly, the dispute centers on whether the District should have identified the student as a student with Asperger’s syndrome.

Specifically, parents argue that the District denied the student a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”), failing to meet its obligations under IDEIA to identify the student as eligible under that statute and to provide special education and related services, known as the District’s

“child find” obligation. As a result of the District’s alleged failure of its child find obligation, parents also argue that the student was exposed to bullying and harassment that amount to a denial of FAPE and discriminatory behavior in violation of the obligations of Section 504.

The District argues that, for a variety of reasons, it did not deny a FAPE to the student under either IDEIA or Section 504. As such, the District feels that no remedy is warranted.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of parents.

ISSUES

Did the District fail in its child find obligations under the terms of the IDEIA/Chapter 14?

If so, is compensatory education owed to the student?

Did the District provide the student with a FAPE, as required by Section 504?

Did the District discriminate against the student?

J-P-Big-Beaver-Falls-Area-ODRNo-2787-1112KE

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