Special Education Hearing Officer
ODR No. 1631-1011AS
Child’s Name: L. B.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 7/22/11, 9/15/11, 9/27/11, 10/6/11
Parties to the Hearing:
230 Flourtown Road
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1252
Michael Gehring, Esq. McAndrews Law Offices 30 Cassatt Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312
School District Attorney
Karl Romberger, Esq.
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 Butler Avenue, P.O. Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901 -0934
Date Record Closed: October 28, 2011
Date of Decision: November 12, 2011
Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This case centers on events that occurred during Student’s high school, from [redacted] school years. Early in 9th grade Student [acted responsibly and informed staff about a potentially dangerous situation]. Afterward, however, Student was ostracized by peers and began struggling academically. In the middle of the school year, in an apparent effort to gain peer acceptance, Student [incurred some legal involvement including brief juvenile detention]. At the time of Student’s release, the District considered an evaluation to explore IDEA eligibility but did not issue a permission to evaluate (PTE).
Student’s difficulties in school continued and increased during 10th and 11th grades. In February [of] 11th grade, the District identified Student as IDEA eligible in the OHI category due to ADHD and offered two IEPs to address ADHD symptoms and behavior/emotional issues. Nevertheless, Student’s difficulties in school and other settings increased, ultimately resulting in Parents’ placing Student in an out of state residential program in December [of] 12th grade.
In [the following] March, Parents initiated a due process complaint alleging denial of FAPE beginning in the spring of [9th grade], seeking compensatory education from that time until Student left the District, reimbursement for the private placement and appropriate services until age 21. The hearing was held over four sessions in July, September and early October 2011. For the reasons that follow, Student is awarded full days of compensatory education from March [of 10th grade] until leaving the District, including ESY services for two summers. Reimbursement for the private placement is denied because it is a residential treatment program that does not directly provide educational services. By agreement of the parties, present and future program/placement issues were removed from consideration at the hearing due to an ongoing District reevaluation.
- Did the School District timely evaluate and identify Student as IDEA eligible?
- Did Student suffer substantive harm to educational progress due to an untimely evaluation/delay in identification or because of a lack of appropriate services at any time during the period in dispute?
- Is the School District required to provide Student with compensatory education, and if so, for what period, in what amount and in what form?
- Is the School District required to reimburse Parents for the costs of a private residential program they provided to Student from December [of 12th grade] through the end of the [Student’s 12th grade]1 school year?2