ML vs. Centennial School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

REMAND DECISION

Child’s Name: ML

Date of Birth: [redacted]

CURRENT ODR No. 9181/08-09 LS

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

School District
Centennial School District 433 Centennial Road Warminster PA 18974-5448

Representative:

Parent Attorney: Frederick Stanczak, Esq. 179 North Broad Street Doylestown, PA 18901

School District Attorney: Anne Hendricks, Esq. Levin Legal Group
1402 Mason Mills

Business Park
1800 Byberry Road Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Remand Decision: October 4, 2010

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The first administrative due process hearing in this matter, which resulted in the case currently pending in district court, was held in late 2007, followed by the hearing officer’s decision concluding that Student was ineligible for special education under the IDEA statute, but was a protected handicapped student and eligible for services under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (1/11/08 HO Decision, p. 23) This review and reconsideration of the original hearing officer’s decision is required by the district court’s remand of the January 2008 decision to the administrative hearing level for determination of a legal/factual issue concerning §504 eligibility that was not fully addressed and adjudicated in the original decision.1

The district court determined that in concluding that Student was a protected handicapped student under §504, the hearing officer did not appropriately consider whether medication Student was taking for ADHD mitigated the effects of that condition to the extent that Student did not qualify for the protections afforded by §504.

By agreement of the parties, that determination was revisited via review of the original record, including selected testimony and exhibits that the parties agreed are relevant, along with additional briefs.

LEGAL ISSUE

As framed by the district court, the question whether Student should have been identified as a protected handicapped student under §504 depends upon whether the medication Student was taking allowed Student to function as well as non-disabled students. If the impairments to Student’s attention, focus and learning arising from ADHD were corrected by medication, the disability would not have “substantially limited a major life activity,” thereby eliminating §504 eligibility in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471, 475, 482, 119 S.Ct. 2139, 144 L.Ed.2d 450 (1999)

ML-Centennial-ODRNo-9181-08-09-LS

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