MM vs. Baldwin-Whitehall School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: M.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: May 12, 2010

July 6, 2010 July 23, 2010 August 12, 2010

CLOSED HEARING

ODR No. 00681-0910KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Ms. Virginia Deasy
Director of Pupil Services Baldwin-Whitehall School District 4900 Curry Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15236

Representative:

Jeffrey J. Ruder, Esquire
710 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2600 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Patricia R. Andrews, Esquire Andrews and Price
1500 Ardmore Blvd., Suite 506 Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Date Record Closed: September 3, 2010

Date of Decision: September 17, 2010

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, M.Ed., J.D.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student1 is a late teenaged former student in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District (hereafter District). Student’s parents filed a due process complaint claiming that the District denied Student a free, appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)2 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504),3 challenging its evaluation and identification of Student as well as the educational program provided to Student beginning in January 2008 through Student’s graduation from the District at the end of the 2008-09 school year.

Four due process hearing sessions were conducted at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions.4 The parents presented evidence on their claims seeking compensatory education for Student between January 2008 and June 2009. The District defended those claims, asserting that it did not deny FAPE to Student throughout that time period.

For the reasons which follow, I find in favor of the parents on a portion of their claims, awarding compensatory education for a specific time period, and in favor of the District on the remaining claims.

ISSUES

1. Whether the District violated its Child Find obligations to Student in failing to identify Student pursuant to the IDEA and Section 504; and

2. If so, whether the District denied Student a FAPE in the least restrictive environment between January 2008 and June 2009; and

3. Whether the District discriminated against Student in violation of Section 504.

M-M-Baldwin-Whitehall-ODRNo-00681-0910KE

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