MS vs. Downingtown Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Student: M.S.

ODR #13375/12-13-KE

Date of Birth:

[redacted]

Dates of Hearing: April 30, 2013 June 24, 2013 June 25, 2013

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Downingtown Area School District 540 Trestle Place
Downingtown, PA19335

Representative: Jennifer Sang, Esquire 8 Penn Center
1628 JFK Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19103

Sharon Montanye, Esquire Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 E. Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18601

Date Record Closed : July 30, 2013

Date of Decision: August 11, 2013

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Official

Background

Student1 is a teen-aged student who resides in the Downingtown Area School District [District] but dis-enrolled from the District’s schools and at the time of the hearing attended a cyber-charter school. Student is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] under the current classifications of learning disabled and other health impaired, and is consequently a protected handicapped individual under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [Section 504] as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.

This matter concerns a due process request brought by the Parents [Parents] who allege that in various ways the District denied Student a free, appropriate public education [FAPE] and who are for this reason seeking compensatory education services for Student, and reimbursement for private evaluations they obtained. The District maintains that during the periods Student was enrolled and attending school, FAPE was provided.

For the reasons set forth below I find for the District.

Issues

1. Did the School District deny Student a Free Appropriate Public Education during the periods of enrollment beginning on January 3rd, 2011 through to the most recent withdrawal from the district? Specifically,

  1. Did the District fail to give Student an appropriate comprehensive evaluation in the areas of speech/ language, occupational therapy, autism spectrum disorder, and/or behavior;2 and/or
  2. Did the District unilaterally and inappropriately remove speech and language therapy from Student’s IEP without a discussion by the IEP team; and/or
  3. Did the District fail to provide Student with an IEP that provided appropriate academic goals; appropriate specially designed instruction to address issues of anxiety, attention deficits, and/or social delays3, 4 ; and/or
  4. Should the District have conducted an FBA rather than filing for truancy against the Parents, and should the FBA have then resulted in anattendance plan that included adjustments such as smaller class size; and/or
  5. Did the District inappropriately deny Student access to instruction, specifically, homebound instruction?

2. If the District denied Student FAPE for any or all the designated periods of enrollment in any or all the enumerated ways, is Student entitled to compensatory education, and if so in what form and in what amount?

3. Should the District be required to reimburse the Parents for the private evaluations they obtained?

M-S-Downingtown-Area-ODRNo-1337512-13-KE

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