Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: L.V.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Date of Hearing: December 3, 2012
ODR Case # 13244-1213KE
Parties to the Hearing: Parents
Moon Township Area School District 8353 University Boulevard
Moon Township, PA 15108
Jonathan Steele, Esquire Charles Steele, Esquire
428 Forbes Avenue / Suite 900 Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Russell Lucas, Esquire Michael Brungo, Esquire 3301 McCrady Road Pittsburgh, PA 15235
Date Record Closed: December 3, 2012
Date of Decision: December 12, 2012
Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
[Student] (hereinafter “student”)1 is [pre-teenaged] student who attends the Moon Township Area School District (“District”). The student has not been identified as a student with a disability under the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”) and Pennsylvania special education regulations (“Chapter 14”) but, pending the outcome of an ongoing comprehensive evaluation process, is thought to be eligible.2 The dispute centers on whether the District exceeded its statutory authority to remove the student for 45 school days for a behavior incident that led to a statutorily-defined “serious bodily injury”.
The District contends that it acted appropriately under its statutory authority to remove the student unilaterally to a private placement when the student, in the midst of a classroom behavior incident, [engaged in a behavior] resulting in a serious bodily injury. The student’s parents counter that the [redacted] wound does not rise to the level of a serious bodily injury. As such, parents argue that the District exceeded its statutory authority to remove the student unilaterally and that the student should be returned to the District.
For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the parents and student.
Did the District exceed its authority
in unilaterally removing the student from the District
as the result of a behavior incident that led to a serious bodily injury?