LG vs. West Chester Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: L.G.

ODR #1582/10-11-AS

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: May 10, 2011 July 5, 2011

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

West Chester Area School District 829 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA 19380

Representative:
Emily Foote, Esquire McAndrews Law Offices 30 Cassatt Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312

Sharon Montanye, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz and Williams 331 Butler Avenue PO Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: August 2, 2011

Date of Decision: August 6, 2011

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

Background

Student1 is a late-teen aged individual who was formerly enrolled in the West Chester Area School District (District). When Student was attending school in the District, the District found Student ineligible for classification as a Protected Handicapped Student under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. In the fall of 11th grade the Parents (Parents) unilaterally placed Student in a therapeutic residential school at some distance from the District. Approximately eight months later when Student was permitted home for a visit the District evaluated Student and found Student ineligible for special education under the IDEA. Student received a diploma from the residential placement approximately five weeks after the District’s evaluation was conducted.

The Parents requested this hearing under the IDEA and under Section 504 alleging the District erred when it failed to identify Student as a Protected Handicapped Student and/or an eligible Student. They are requesting tuition reimbursement for the period from July 21, 2009 to August 15, 2009. 2

For the reasons presented below I find for the Parents with modifications.

Issues

Did the School District deny Student a free, appropriate public education [FAPE] during the relevant period by failing to identify Student as eligible under Section 504 and/or the IDEA?

If the School District denied Student a free, appropriate public education during the relevant period, is Student entitled to tuition reimbursement for the Parents’ unilateral placement?

L-G-West-Chester-Area-ODRNo-1582-10-11-AS

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