MF vs. School District Wissahickon

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

ODR No. 15555-1415AS 15574-1415AS

Child’s Name: M.F.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 2/27/15, 3/16/15, 4/27/15, 4/29/15

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District Wissahickon
601 Knight Road Ambler, PA 19002

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Heather Hulse, Esquire McAndrews Law Offices 30 Cassatt Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312

School District Attorney Scott Wolpert, Esquire Timoney Knox
P.O. Box 7544

400 Maryland Drive
Fort Washington, PA 19034

Date Record Closed: June 17, 2015

Date of Decision: June 24, 2015

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The issues in dispute in this matter arose from due process complaints submitted, first, by the District to support the appropriateness of its May 2014 reevaluation, consisting of a review of records, including private evaluation reports provided by Parents. The District initiated its process complaint after denying Parents’ request for an IEE.

Although Student is still in the early elementary school years, Parents became concerned about Student’s academic progress, apparent inability to retain and apply skills learned in the classroom to homework and the potential for more serious problems as the difficulty of school work increases. Parents believe that additional information concerning Student’s neuropsychological processes in the educational context, visual processing, sensory integration and language issues will lead to better strategies to address Student’s learning needs. Parents also submitted their own due process complaint a few days after the District’s complaint, alleging that the District failed to provide Student with appropriate IEPs from the time Student was identified as IDEA eligible in the 2012/2013 school year, and failed to offer an appropriate IEP for the 2014/2015 school year. For those alleged violations, Parents request full days of compensatory education from November 2012 through the end of the 2013/2014 school year, and tuition reimbursement for the private school placement they selected for the 2014/2015 school year.

Because the issues in dispute were so closely connected, the complaints were consolidated for hearing and decision. The due process hearing for the consolidated complaints was held over four sessions from late February to late April 2015. For the reasons that follow, Parents’ claims are denied.

ISSUES

  1. Has the School District appropriately evaluated/reevaluated Student by conducting sufficient appropriate assessments in all areas related to Student’s suspected disabilities in order to sufficiently identify all of Student’s needs?
  2. If not, should the School District be required to provide a publicly funded independent educational evaluation (IEE) that includes the following components: An educational neuropsychological evaluation: a speech and language evaluation; an occupational therapy (OT) evaluation focused on sensory integration issues and a vision evaluation?
  3. Did the School District provide a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) to Student during the two years following receipt of the initial evaluation report, and development of an IEP in November, 2012 and subsequent IEPs/revisions through the end of the 2013/2014 school year?
  4. If not, should the School District be required to provide Student with compensatory education?
  5. If compensatory education is due, in what form, in what amount, and for what period(s) should it be awarded?
  6. Did the School District offer an appropriate IEP and placement for Student for the 2014/2015 school year?
  7. If not, should the School District be required to fund Student’s private school placement selected by Parents in that it was an appropriate placement that met Student’s needs?

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