NH vs. Mathematics-Civics and Sciences Charter School

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: NH

ODR #00252/09-10 LS

Date of Birth: XX-XX-XXXX

Dates of Hearing: November 13, 2009 November 19, 2009

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Ms.

Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School 447 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123

Representative:
Fredrick Stanczak, Esquire
179 N. Broad Street 2nd Floor Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901

Maria Ramola, Esquire
350 Eagleview Boulevard Suite 100 Exton, Pennsylvania 19341

Date Record Closed: November 27, 2009

Date of Decision: December 2, 2009

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D. Certified Hearing Official

Background

Student1 is a nearly sixteen year old student who has been enrolled in the Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School [hereinafter School] since 1st grade. Student is a protected handicapped student; Student experiences migraine headaches. Pursuant to a lengthy history of unexcused absences the School disenrolled Student on October 28, 2009 and referred Student as being truant to the School District of Philadelphia. The Parent argues that the School discriminated against the Student on the basis of Student’s handicap and that the absences were due to the handicap rather than to truancy. Additionally the Parent contends that the School impermissibly developed a 504 Plan for the Student without her participation. The School argues that the Student’s absences represented a pattern of truancy rather than being related to Student’s disability and that it appropriately developed the 504 Plan with input from the Parent despite her not having participated in a meeting in person.

The Parent sought to have Student returned to the School under the pendency provision of the IDEA. Although Student is not IDEA-eligible, due process matters under Section 504, including pendency or “stay put” provisions, are in large part handled in the same manner as under the IDEA. The hearing officer granted the Parent’s Motion to Enforce Pendency following the first hearing session.

Issues

  1. Did the School act inappropriately in dropping the Student from its rolls due to multiple absences?
  2. Was the School’s developing a 504 Plan in the physical absence of the Parent inappropriate?
NH-Mathematics-Civics-and-Sciences-Charter-ODRNo-00252-09-10-LS

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