JZ vs. Franklin Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: J. Z., a student in the

Franklin Area School District

Date of Hearing: September 25, 2008

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Case # 9260/08-09 AS

Date Record Closed: October 6, 2008

Date of Decision: October 10, 2008

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

J.Z. (“student”) is a high school student residing in the Franklin 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 (“IDEIA”)1. The District seeks to expel the student based on a behavioral incident. The parents oppose the expulsion.

Parents filed a complaint on September 12, 2008 after the finding of a manifestation determination review that the behavioral incident was not a result of the student’s disability under the IDEIA. Parents disagreed and sought to have the determination overturned, and the student assigned to a new placement.

Because parents’ complaint regards a disciplinary change in placement, this decision is on an expedited timeline.2 The hearing was conducted in one session on September 25, 2008. The decision is due within ten school days of the hearing3 but no later than 30 calendar days after the filing of the complaint.4 In a discussion with District personnel at the end of the hearing, it was determined that the 10-school day timeline expired on October 13, 2008.5 The thirtieth day after the filing of the complaint, however, is October 12, 2008. Therefore, this hearing officer considers the decision due no later than October 12, 2008.

Written closing arguments were due from counsel, and the record therefore closed, on October 6, 2008. Both parties filed timely closing arguments.

This decision was rendered on October 10, 2008. For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the District regarding the result of the manifestation determination review. Provisions of the order, however, concern future obligations by the District and IEP team regarding the student’s program/placement.

ISSUE

Was the manifestation determination finding that the student’s behavior was not a manifestation of his disability correct?

J-Z-Franklin-Area-ODRNo-9260-08-09-AS

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