MH vs. Lower Merion School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
Child’s Name: M. H.

Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 2/17/2016 and 4/21/2016

CLOSED HEARING
ODR File No. 17247-15-16

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

Local Education Agency Lower Merion School District 301 E. Montgomery Avenue Ardmore, PA 19003-3338

Representative:

Parent Attorney Pro Se

LEA Attorney
Amy Brooks Esq.
Blue Bell Executive Campus 460 Norristown Road, Suite 110 Blue Bell , PA 19422-2323 610-825-8400

Date Record Closed: May 20, 2016

Date of Decision: June 10, 2016

Hearing Officer: Charles W. Jelley Esq. LL,M.

Introduction and Procedural History

The Student1 is a middle school age pupil who resides with the parent in the District. The Parties agree the Student is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and their implementing regulations. The Parents claim the District violated the IDEA by not providing the Student a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The Parents also claim the failure to provide FAPE violates Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over two sessions, at which the parties presented extensive evidence.2 The Parents claim the District failed to provide appropriate programming for the 2015-2016 school. To make up for the alleged violations, the Parents hired a one-on-one tutor; the Parent now seek reimbursement for all out-of-pocket tutoring expenses. The District maintains that its special education program, as designed, offered and implemented was at all times appropriate for the Student in all respects. The District contends that many if not all of the Student’s difficulties are the result of the transition from 6th to 7th grade.

For the reasons set forth below, I find for the Parents and against the District. The District is ordered to reimburse the Parents for their out-of-pocket tutoring expenses paid from August 2015 to May 30, 2016.

ISSUES

  1. During the 2015-2016 school year, did the District provide the Student a free appropriate public education? If the answer is yes, should the District reimburse the parent for the costs of providing a tutor?

M-H-Lower-Merion-ODRNo-17247-15-16

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