MZ vs. Norristown Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: M.Z.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing:
October 13, 2009, December 4, 2009, March 9, 2010, March 10, 2010,

April 26, 2010

CLOSED HEARING

ODR No. 10169-0809-AS

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Dr. William Dura
Dr. Beth Marvin
Norristown Area School District 401 N. Whitehall Road Norristown, AP 19403

Representative:

Dean M. Beer, Esquire McAndrews Law offices 30 Cassatt Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312

Scott H. Wolpert, Esquire Timoney Knox LLP
400 Maryland Drive
P. O. Box 7544

Fort Washington, PA 19034

Date Record Closed: June 4, 2010

Date of Decision: June 19, 2010

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student1 is currently a late teenaged eligible student who resides in the Norristown Area School District (District). Student is eligible for special education and related services by reason of mental retardation and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). This matter was originally assigned to Hearing Officer Deborah G. DeLauro who conducted two hearing sessions, issuing a ruling relative to the applicable statute of limitations period on October 19, 2009. (Hearing Officer Exhibit (HO) 1) Specifically, Hearing Officer DeLauro determined that the parents had not (1) filed their complaint within two years of the date they knew or should have known of the alleged actions forming the basis of their complaint (October 1, 2003), or (2) established that the District intentionally misrepresented that it had resolved the problem forming the basis of their complaint or withheld required information it was required to provide. Thus, the substantive portion of the hearing was limited to claims relating to the time period between June 8, 2007 and June 8, 2009 (the date on which the complaint was filed). The case was subsequently reassigned to this hearing officer on December 18, 2009. After a conference call with counsel on January 7, 2010, two additional hearing sessions were scheduled. Those two sessions were conducted in March 2010, and one additional hearing session was made necessary due to the illness of one of the witnesses. The record closed on June 4, 2010.

In accordance with the October 19, 2009 ruling on the statute of limitations, the parents presented evidence on their claims challenging the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to Student for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years. those claims, asserting that it had provided FAPE to Student throughout that time period. For the following reasons, I find in favor of the parents and Student with respect to a portion of the time periods involved in this case.

ISSUES

1. Whether the District failed to appropriately and comprehensively conduct adequate and timely functional behavioral assessments of Student between June 8, 2007 and June 8, 2009;

2. Whether the District failed to provide FAPE to Student by failing to develop and implement appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) between June 8, 2007 and June 8, 2009;

3. If the District denied FAPE to Student, is Student entitled to compensatory education and, if so, in what amount.

M-Z-Norristown-Area-ODRNo-10169-0809-AS

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