LB vs. Collegium Charter School

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: L.B.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 17688-15-16-KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Collegium Charter School 535 James Hance Court Exton, PA 19341

Representative: Pro Se

Nicole Snyder, Esquire
Latsha, Davis & McKenna P.C.

350 Eagleview Boulevard, Suite 100 Exton, PA 19341

Date of Hearing: May 19, 2016

Record Closed: May 19, 2016

Date of Decision: May 23, 2016

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Esq., CHO

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The child named in this matter (Student)1 is an eligible enrollee of the charter school named in this matter (Charter). Student is identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA), as a child with the disabilities of Emotional Disturbance, Other Health Impairment and Specific Learning Disability. The Charter filed the present due process complaint notice pursuant to the IDEA, requesting an expedited hearing and order authorizing it to change Student’s educational placement from supplemental emotional support located in its own middle school building to full time emotional support in a different school operated by the local Intermediate Unit (IU School).

The Charter requested an order authorizing temporary transfer to an alternative educational setting for 45 days pursuant to 20 U.S.C. §1415(k)(3)(A)(current placement believed substantially likely to result in injury to child or others). It also requested an order declaring that it is authorized to make the temporary placement permanent, due to the consent of Student’s Mother, over the opposition of Student’s Father.2 It also requested an order prior to hearing declaring that the proposed new placement is actually the pendent placement, thus authorizing immediate placement in the IU School, on grounds that the Student’s Mother had signed a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP), making the new placement pendent, 20 U.S.C. §1415(j) and conferring “stay put” status on the new placement, although Student had not started at the new placement when the complaint notice was filed.

Student’s Mother agrees with the proposed placement, but Student’s Father disagrees and presses the hearing officer to deny the Charter’s requested relief. Student’s Father agrees that the Student’s present educational placement is inappropriate, but he asserts that the proposed new placement is inappropriate also, and that other placements or changes in the IEP at the present location should be undertaken instead of transfer to the IU School.

In view of the request to declare the IU School the pendent placement, I scheduled the hearing well in advance of even an expedited time line, and conducted the hearing in one day. The record is closed and I hereby order the Charter to change Student’s educational placement to a 45- day alternative educational placement. 3 I bifurcate the matter, closing the expedited matter resolved by this decision and final order. The Office for Dispute Resolution will assign a new case number for resolution of the issue of permanent placement change. The latter is not an expedited issue, and will be scheduled in accord with normal IDEA time lines.

ISSUES

  1. Is maintaining Student’s current placement substantially likely to result in injury to Student or others?
  2. Is placement in full-time emotional support at the IU School for up to 45 days, as proposed by the Charter, an appropriate interim alternative educational placement?
  3. Should the Hearing Officer order the District to proceed with its proposed temporary change in placement?
L-B-Collegium-Charter-ODRNo-17688-15-16-KE

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