JT vs. Eastern Lebanon County School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 01259-0910AS

Child’s Name: J.T.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 7/31/10, 9/1/10

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District
Eastern Lebanon County 180 Elco Drive
Myerstown, PA 17067-2604

Representative:

Parent Attorney None

School District Attorney Anthony Andrisano, Jr., Esquire Marshall, Dennehey
4200 Crums Mill Road Suite B Harrisburg, PA 17112

Date Record Closed: September 7, 2010

Date of Decision: September 22, 2010

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is currently in 11th grade in the Eastern Lebanon County School District, and is IDEA eligible due to an autism spectrum disorder. The complaint in this case alleged a single violation, the August 2009 failure or refusal of the District’s [redacted sports] coach to fully implement two aspects of the specially designed instruction specified in Student’s IEP: That during try-outs for the [redacted] team, the coach or another adult would remind Student to focus and concentrate and that Student would always be the [at a specific place in the line of players].

Parent further alleged that because the District failed to implement that aspect of Student’s IEP, and Student did not make the [sports] team for 2009/2010 school year,
Student suffered a loss of self-esteem and a loss of interest in school and in participating in school activities. Upon inquiry concerning any adverse effect that directly affected Student’s educational performance, Parent asserted that Student’s failure to make the [sports] team resulted in lower grades during the 2009/2010 school year.

The hearing was held in two short sessions due to the unavailability of a witness at the first session. Although the evidence established that the SDI was not implemented on at least one of the two day 2009 [team] try-outs, the violation did not result in a substantive deprivation of Student’s educational rights under IDEA. In addition, there was no evidence that the District intentionally discriminated against Student on the basis of disability through the actions of the [team] coach. The objective evidence at the hearing established that 1) the violation was not the reason Student did not make the [sports] team in 2009; 2) Student’s educational progress was not adversely affected by not being on the [sports] team in 2009. Parent’s claim, therefore will be denied.

ISSUES

  1. Did the [sports] coach for the School District fail to provide accommodations required by [Student’s] IEP, resulting in [Student] failing to achieve a place on the School District [sports] team for the 2009/2010 school year?
  2. Did a violation of [Student’s] IEP and/or being denied the opportunity to be a member of the School District [sports] team for the 2009/2010 school year result in a substantive loss of educational benefits?
  3. Were the accommodations concerning [sports] team try-outs specified in [Student’s] IEP unenforceable as a violation of rules governing athletic teams promulgated by PIAA?
J-T-Eastern-Lebanon-County-ODRNo-01259-0910AS

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