ML vs. School District Centennial

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

REMAND DECISION

ODR No. 9181/08-09 LS
Child’s Name: M.L.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 12/10/2007; 12/12/2007;

12/14/2007; 12/20/2007

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District
Centennial
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

Date Record Closed: October 21, 2011

Date of Decision: November 5, 2011

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This case was returned from federal district court for an additional administrative decision after the presiding judge affirmed the original hearing officer’s January 2008 decision that the School District violated §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 when it concluded in February 2006 that Student was not a protected handicapped student. Centennial School District v. P[redacted] L. and L[redacted] L. ex rel. M[redacted] L., 2011 WL 3235726 (E.D. Pa. 2011) at *8. The district judge also determined, however, that the hearing officer erred by concluding, as a matter of law, that Student was not entitled to compensatory education as a remedy for the District’s failure to correctly identify Student as protected under §504.

Consequently, the case was remanded to determine whether the District denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) from February 2006 until January 2007, when Student began taking medication for ADHD. Because the district judge further concluded that the medication mitigated the effects of the disability, Student’s protected handicapped status was terminated in January 2007, obviating the need to assess the District’s services from that time until Student left the District.

Based upon review of the testimony and documentary evidence that comprises the record of the original due process hearing and the findings of fact and discussion below, the District failed to provide Student with sufficient and effective accommodations during the relevant period to assure that Student derived meaningful benefit from the regular education program provided during the second half of the 2005/2006 school year and the first half of the 2006/2007 school year. Consequently, Student is entitled to an award of full days of compensatory education for that period.

ISSUES

  1. What, if any, accommodations did the School District provide to Student between February 2006 and January 2007 to address the effects of Student’s ADHD on school functioning and performance?
  2. Did the School District’s failure to provide Student with a Service Agreement violate §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by denying Student FAPE, or did the School District effectively address Student’s needs arising from ADHD without a formal plan?
  3. If the District denied FAPE, is Student entitled to compensatory education at the rate of 6 hours/day for the second half of 9th grade and the first half of 10th grade?
M-L-Centennial-ODRNo-9181-08-09-LS

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