MV vs. School District Tunkhannock Area

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

ODR No. 15903-1415KE

Child’s Name: M.V.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Date of Hearing: 4/23/15

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District Tunkhannock Area
41 Philadelphia Avenue Tunkhannock, PA 18657

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Matthew Dempsey, Esquire Lenahan and Dempsey
P. O. Box 234
Scranton, PA 18501

School District Attorney William J. McPartland, Esquire Marshall, Dennehey, Warner,

Coleman and Coggin
50 Glemaura National Boulevard Moosic, PA 18507

Date Record Closed: May 30, 2015

Date of Decision: June 11, 2015

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Student involved in this case is completing 2nd grade in a District elementary school. Due to a medical diagnosis of Type I diabetes, Student is a qualified handicapped person / protected handicapped student under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. §794), the federal regulations implementing §504 (34 C.F.R. §§104.32—104.37), and Chapter 15 of the Pennsylvania Code.

Student’s condition carries a risk of hypoglycemia, which, if it occurs, requires a lifesaving dose of glucagon administered by injection within minutes. The District requires that a nurse administer the medication if needed, but there is not always a nurse present in Student’s building. Parents argue that administration of the glucagon does not require a nurse, and that the District is engaging in a discriminatory practice against their child by refusing to agree to training for individuals other than a nurse to provide emergency glucagon treatment in the event of a life-threatening emergency. The District argues that the Pennsylvania Nurse Practice Act precludes delegation of the administration of medication to non-nursing personnel, and, therefore, that Patents’ requested accommodation is unreasonable.

Based upon review of the record produced at the single brief hearing session on April 23, 2015, which resulted in no significant dispute concerning facts relevant to the decision, as well as review of the parties’ respective legal arguments, I find for the Parents.

ISSUES

1. Should the District be required to permit staff other than registered or licensed nurses to be trained, and if needed, to administer glucagon injections in order to assure that someone is available to provide that life-saving emergency treatment whenever Student is present at school or at a school event or activity such as a field trip?

2. Is the District presently engaging in a discriminatory practice, in that when a nurse or a Parent is not present to administer a glucagon injection in the event of an emergency, Student is precluded from participating in school and/or school activities due solely to Student’s medical condition?

M-V-Tunkhannock-Area-ODRNo-15903-1415KE

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