NF vs. Lower Merion School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Student’s Name: N.F.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 13114-12-13-KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Lower Merion School District 301 East Montgomery Avenue Ardmore, PA 19003-3338

Representative:

David G. C. Arnold, Esquire
920 Matsonford Road Suite 106 West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2728

Claudia L. Huot, Esquire
Wisler Pearlstine LLP
Blue Bell Executive Campus 460 Norristown Road, Suite 110 Blue Bell, PA 19422-2323

Dates of Hearing: November 27, 2012; December 12, 2012; January 22, 2013; January 25, 2013

Record Closed: February 13, 2013

Date of Decision: February 28, 2013

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esq., CHO

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Student named in the title page of this decision (Student) is an eligible resident of the school district named in the title page of this decision (District). (NT 7.) The District has identified Student with Specific Learning Disability. (NT 7.) Student’s Parents1 assert that the District has failed to offer or provide the Student with a free appropriate public education (FAPE), as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA), and discriminated against Student contrary to section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504). Parents unilaterally removed Student from the District and placed Student in a private school (School). Parents request compensatory education2 and reimbursement of private school tuition and transportation costs.

The District asserts that it provided or offered a FAPE during all relevant times.
The hearing was completed in four sessions. The record closed upon receipt of written summations.

ISSUES

  1. Did the District fail to offer or provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to Student from October 3, 2010 to November 27, 2012, including failing to provide extended school year (ESY) services in the summers of 2011 or 2012?
  2. Is the private school an appropriate placement for Student?
  3. Considering the equities, should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse Parents for all or any part of the costs of private school tuition at the School for the period January 1, 2011 to the end of the school year in 2011, the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years, and the costs of transportation to private summer school programs in the summers of 2011 and 2012?
  4. Did the District discriminate against the Student or fail to provide Student with equal access to or the equal benefit of the District’s educational services at any time from October 3, 2010 to the date of the first hearing in this matter, November 27, 2012?
  5. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide compensatory education to Student for all or any part of the period from October 3, 2010 until the Student was withdrawn from the District in December 2010?
N-F-Lower-Merion-ODRNo-13114-12-13-KE

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