JW vs. Bristol Borough School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: J.W.

ODR #17329 / 15-16 KE

Date of Birth:

[redacted]

Dates of Hearing: April 11, 2016 May 4, 2016

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Bristol Borough School District 450 Beaver Street
Bristol, PA 19007

Representative:
Hollie John, Esquire Jacobson & John
99 Lantern Drive Suite 202 Doylestown, PA 18901

Karl Romberger, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 Butler Avenue PO Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: June 21, 2016

Date of Decision: June 28, 2016

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Official

Background and Procedural History

Student1 is an early elementary school age child who enrolled in the District for kindergarten in the 2014-2015 school year and repeated kindergarten in the 2015-2016 school year. At the time the hearing sessions were taking place Student had not yet been identified as eligible for special education. Student’s Grandparents, who have physical and legal custody, asked for this hearing because they believed that Student should have been evaluated and identified as a child with a disability, entitled to special education services. Further they alleged that the District discriminated against Student, and also that the District retaliated against them for filing the hearing request.

Over the course of the hearing the parties with their counsel’s assistance cooperated in resolving several issues. The parties considered the results of an independent educational evaluation dated January 28, 2016 which the Grandparents obtained and for which the District has agreed to pay. Student was found eligible for special education and an IEP and a NOREP were prepared. This decision therefore only addresses the remaining issues as put forth below.

The parties collaborated in producing Joint Exhibits, and their efforts in this regard made for an efficient hearing and are greatly appreciated.

The testimony of every witness, the content of each exhibit, as well as the parties’ written closing statements, were reviewed and considered in issuing this decision, regardless of whether there is a citation to particular testimony of a witness or to an exhibit. For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the Grandparents on the first three issues and for the District on the fourth.

Issues

Did the District violate its child find obligation?

If the District did violate its child find obligation, what form and amount of compensatory education is owed to Student?

Did the District discriminate against Student?

Did the District retaliate against the Grandparents for filing the due process hearing complaint?

J-W-Bristol-Borough-ODRNo-17329-15-16-KE

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