JT vs. Pine-Richland School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: J.T.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing:

April 12, 2011 May 6, 2011 May 24, 2011 May 31, 2011 June 1, 2011 June 7, 2011

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Case # 1462-10-11-KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Pine-Richland School District Administration Building
702 Warrendale Road Gibsonia, PA 15044

Representative:

Pamela Berger, Esquire 434 Grace Street Pittsburgh, PA 15211

Patricia Andrews, Esquire Andrews & Price
1500 Ardmore Boulevard Suite 506

Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Date Record Closed: June 27, 2011

Date of Decision: July 16, 2011

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[Student] (hereinafter “student”) is a [teenaged] student residing in the Pine-Richland School District (“District”) who has been identified as a student with a disability, specifically autism, under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”) and Pennsylvania special education regulations (“Chapter 14”).1 The parties agree that the student qualifies under these provisions of law.

The parties disagree over the nature of the student’s school day regarding the provision of special education programming. The student’s parents also allege that, through multiple acts and omissions, the District has denied the student a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) as required under IDEIA and Chapter 14. Additionally, parents assert that the student has been the subject of disability discrimination under the applicable provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”). 2

Parents seek compensatory education as a result of the alleged deprivations of FAPE and a finding that the District has discriminated against the student in violation of Section 504. Parents also ask that specific aspects of the student’s school day be addressed in the order, including provision for an extended school day (that is, services provided outside of the school day). The District counters that at all times it has provided a FAPE to the student and met its obligations under IDEIA, Chapter 14, and Section 504. Additionally, the District asserts that it can provide a FAPE to the student within the school day.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of parents in some regards and in favor of the District in other regards.

ISSUES

Was the student denied a FAPE in the 2009-2010 and/or 2010-2011 school years?

Is the last-proposed individualized education plan (“IEP”) of January 2011 reasonably calculated to yield meaningful education benefit?

Did the District engage in discrimination in its treatment of the student?

What should the student’s school day look like for the 2011-2012 school year?

J-T-Pine-Richland-ODRNo-1462-10-11-KE

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