Special Education Hearing Officer
ODR No. 15445-1415KE
Child’s Name: J.S.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 11/6/14, 11/20/14
Parties to the Hearing:
16 Welden Drive Doylestown, PA 18901
Parents’ Attorney Michael Gehring, Esq. McAndrews Law Offices 30 Cassatt Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312
School District Attorney Scott Wolpert, Esquire Timoney Knox
P.O. Box 7544
400 Maryland Drive
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Date Record Closed: December 5, 2014
Date of Decision: December 19, 2014
Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Student in this case is a high school-age resident of the School District, who was evaluated and identified as IDEA eligible due to emotional disturbance during the 2010/2011 school year. The primary symptom affecting Student’s education is an inability to attend school regularly, which began in middle school and worsened over the past several school years.
Teachers report that when able to get to school, Student is appropriately engaged in classroom activities and peer relationships. Despite missing most days of school, Student has generally been able to maintain passing grades in regular education, grade level material. Although the District, and especially Parents, have attempted a number of interventions to encourage and assist Student’s school attendance, none has been consistently successful and none has been effective at all for more than a short period.
After a May 2014 review of records, which served as the District’s triennial reevaluation, Parents requested an independent educational evaluation, specifically including a neuro- psychological evaluation, with ability, achievement, social and emotional assessments, a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and a psychiatric examination.
The District filed the complaint in this case to defend its reevaluation, but offered to provide a psychiatric evaluation by a doctor of its choice, as well as a psycho-educational evaluation by a District school psychologist. The District declined to provide either a neuro- psychological evaluation or an FBA, contending that neither will yield information that will help the parties solve Student’s serious school attendance problem.
For the reasons that follow, the District is ordered to fund independent evaluations in all areas requested by Parents, conducted by evaluators of Parents’ choice.
- Should the School District be required to fund an independent psycho-educational evaluation of Student, including a neuropsychological evaluation and functional behavioral assessment (FBA)?
- If so, are Parents entitled to their choice of evaluators?
- Are Parents entitled to choose the psychiatrist who will conduct the psychiatric evaluation that both parties agree is necessary for Student?