KL vs. School District of Philadelphia

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: KL

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx

Dates of Hearing: May 19, 2008

CLOSED HEARING

ODR #8569/07-08 KE

Parties to the Hearing: Mr.

School District of Philadelphia 440 North Broad Street, Suite 313 Philadelphia, PA 19130-4015

Representative: Pro Se

Kenneth S. Cooper, Esquire Office of General Counsel
440 North Broad Street, Suite 313 Philadelphia, PA 19130-4015

Date Record Closed: May 28, 2008

Date of Decision: June 7, 2008

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is an elementary school age eligible resident of the School District of Philadelphia (District). (S-2.) The Student is identified with Specific Learning Disability and Other Health Impairment. Ibid. Mr. (Parent) requested due process alleging that 1) the District failed to schedule a requested due process hearing; 2) the District delayed unreasonably in providing an evaluation; 3) the District allowed the Mother1 to transfer the Student from the neighborhood school in the Parent’s area of residence (the School in Father’s neighborhood) to the neighborhood school in the Mother’s area of residence (the School in Mother’s neighborhood); 4) the District failed to allow the Parent to participate in the Student’s educational planning contrary to a court order; 5) the District failed to report child abuse to appropriate authorities; and 6) the District failed to identify a [medical] condition as a disability and as a result, the Student was unable to benefit educationally. (NT 27-53.)

The District asserted that it had no obligation to file a due process request for the Parent, and that it was unaware of any request for due process in 2007. (NT 53-56.) It argued that it had no obligation to evaluate based upon an order of court, because the court in a custody proceeding had no jurisdiction of the District; moreover, it asserted that it did in fact issue a permission to evaluate within twenty days of the court order. (NT 56-57.) The District argued that it did not have any court order showing that the Mother was without authority to transfer the Student from the school in Father’s neighborhood to the school in Mother’s neighborhood. (NT 57-59.) Similarly, the District stated that it had no obligation to treat the Student’s [medical] condition and that it properly implemented applicable truancy laws regarding alleged excessive absences. (NT 59-62.)

The parent requested due process by a series of emails to various employees and officials of the District in January 2008. A written request was filed in February 2008 on an ODR form used to initiate mediation, but the request was treated as a request for due process, and the hearing was scheduled for April 21, 2008. This session was continued to May 19, 2008 at Parent’s request. The hearing was completed in one session and the parties were given leave to forward documents for admission into evidence; these were received on May 28, at which time the record was closed.

ISSUES2

  1. Did the District deprive the Student of a free appropriate public education by failing to forward a due process request to the Office for Dispute Resolution during the 2006-2007 or 2007-2008 school year?3
  2. Did the District deprive the Student of a free appropriate public education by failing to re-evaluate the Student in a timely fashion?
  3. Did the District offer an appropriate educational program and placement to the Student during the 2006-2007 or 2007-2008 school year?
  4. Should the hearing officer award compensatory education for the 2006-2007 or 2007-2008 school year?
KL-School-District-of-Philadelphia-ODRNo-8569-07-08-KE

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