NA vs. Steelton-Highspire School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

Child’s Name: N.A.

Date of Birth: [redacted]
Date of Hearing: July 29, 2014

CLOSED HEARING

ODR File No. 14862-1314AS

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Steelton-Highspire School District 250 Reynders Street
Steelton, PA 17113

Representative:

Anthony T. McBeth, Esquire 406 North Front Street Cameron Mansion Harrisburg, PA 17101

Christopher J. Conrad, Esquire Marshall Dennehy Warner Coleman and Goggin, P.C.
100 Corporate Center Drive, Ste. 101 Camp Hill, PA 17011

Date Record Closed: August 4, 2014

Date of Decision: August 18, 2014

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

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The student (hereafter Student)1 is a teenaged student in the Steelton-Highspire School District (District) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).2 Student’s Parent filed a due process complaint against the District asserting that it denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,3 as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.

The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over a single session, at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. The Parent sought to establish that the District’s proposed placement for the 2014-15 school year is not intensive enough to be appropriate for Student. The District maintained that its proposed special education program and placement is appropriate for Student.

The District also moved to dismiss the complaint on the basis that the issue presented was moot.

For the reasons set forth below,4 I deny the motion to dismiss, but find in favor of the District on the merits, although the IEP team will be directed to convene shortly after the start of the 2014-15 school year to develop a plan to monitor Student’s academic and behavioral performance.

ISSUES

  1. Whether the District’s proposed placement for Student in itinerant emotional support for the 2014-15 school year is appropriate; and
  2. If the proposed program and placement are not appropriate, should the hearing officer order a more restrictive placement with a partial hospitalization component?
N-A-Steelton-Highspire-ODRNo-14862-1314AS

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