MS vs. Haverford Township School District

IN THE PENNSYLVANIA OFFICE FOR DISPUTE RESOLUTION

FINAL DECISION AND ORDER1

Child’s Name: M.S.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: March 31, 2011 June 1, 2011

CLOSED HEARING
ODR File Number 01931-1011 KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Haverford Township School District 1801 Darby Road
Havertown PA 19038

Representative:

Dean M. Beer, Esquire McAndrews Law Offices, P.C. 30 Cassatt Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19312

Frances Ratner, Esquire
Law Offices of Beatty Lincke 200 Old Forge Road Suite 202 Kennett Square, PA 19348

Record Closed: June 22, 2011

Date of Decision: July 6, 2011

Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford, Esquire

Introduction and Procedural History

The Student is [redacted] and diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Parents allege that the District failed to provide the Student a free appropriate public education (FAPE) from the start of the 2004-2005 school year through the present and that the Student’s current individualized education plan (IEP) is inappropriate. The District denies these allegations and, in a counter-claim, avers that the Student no longer qualifies for special education. The District claims that the Student should receive accommodations pursuant to a Section 504 service agreement (504 Plan) instead of an IEP.

Both parties’ claims arise under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. (IDEA); Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 (Section 504); and Title 22, Chapters 14 and 15 of the Pennsylvania Code, 22 Pa Code §§ 14, 15 (Chapter 14 and Chapter 15 respectively). Neither party raises claims [redacted].

At the outset of this hearing, the District filed a motion for partial dismissal. Therein, the District argued that claims arising more than two years before the date of the Parents’ Complaint are time-barred by the IDEA’s two-year statute of limitations. I bifurcated this hearing to address the statute of limitations first, and a hearing session was convened for that purpose. I ultimately resolved that dispute in favor of the District, issuing an order that the Parents may only pursue those claims arising on or after July 5, 2009 (two years before the date of their Complaint).2 My decision and order regarding the statute of limitations is attached hereto as Appendix A.

Issues

The issues presented in this hearing are:

1. Did the District provide FAPE to the Student from January 5, 2009 through the present and, if not, is the Student entitled to compensatory education?

2. Is the Student’s current program and placement is appropriate?3

3. Is the Student currently entitled to special education under the IDEA, or should the Student receive a Section 504 Plan instead?

M-S-Haverford-Township-ODRNo-01931-1011-KE

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