Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: J.T.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing:
April 7, 2014 April 16, 2014
ODR Case # 14665-1314KE
Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]
Moon Area School District 8353 University Boulevard Moon Township, PA 15108
Jonathan Steele, Esquire Steele Schneider
428 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Patricia Andrews, Esquire Andrews & Price
1500 Ardmore Boulevard Suite 506
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Date Record Closed: May 5, 2014
Date of Decision: May 20, 2014
Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
[Student] is a [teenaged] student residing in the Moon Area School District (“District”) who has been identified as a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEA”)1. The student has been identified under the terms of IDEA as a student with autism and an intellectual disability. Since enrollment in the District, the student has attended a private placement. Parents claim that the student has been denied a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) in the least restrictive requirement (“LRE”), as required under IDEA and Pennsylvania special education regulations. Parents seek to enroll the student in District schools.
The District counters that the private placement is the LRE. Its position is that, owing to the student’s profound needs, the private placement is not only reasonably calculated to provide FAPE to the student but is necessary for the student to continue to make educational progress. In effect, the District argues that a District-based placement would be less restrictive for the student but would come at the price of appropriateness and progress.
For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the District. The order will also contain certain explicit directives to the student’s individualized education plan (“IEP”) team.