Special Education Hearing Officer
Student’s Name: N.J.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
ODR No. 13553-1213AS
Parties to the Hearing:
Neshaminy School District 2001 Old Lincoln Highway Langhorne, PA 19047
Jane Williams, Esq. 331 Butler Ave.
New Britain, PA 18901
Dates of Hearing: 08/13/2013
Record Closed: 08/13/2013
Date of Decision: 10/05/2013
Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford
The Parents1 requested this due process hearing to obtain accommodations for their child (the Student) under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).2 The District argues that the Student is not eligible for Section 504 accommodations.
The Parents originally requested two due process hearings, one for each of their children, on February 18, 2013. Both complaints (this one and ODR No. 13552-1213AS) were consolidated – meaning that they would be heard together, but that separate decisions would be written for each child. Both complaints raised claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, (IDEA)3 and Section 504. After some delays, a hearing convened on August 13, 2013.
At the outset of the hearing, the Parents withdrew their IDEA claims and proceeded under Section 504 only.4 The Parents were quite clear that they are demanding particular accommodations for the Student, and did not care whether the accommodations were provided under the IDEA or Section 504. They did, however, view IEPs as “limiting” in comparison to Section 504 accommodation plans and were clear and explicit about their desire to proceed under Section 504 only.5
This decision and order concerns the student referenced in the cover page (the Student) only. Portions of this decision and ODR No. 13552-1213AS are identical; for example, sections explaining the applicable laws. The findings of fact and ultimate outcome of this case is, however, student-specific.
Is the Student entitled to a Section 504 Service Agreement or Plan?
If the Student is entitled to a Section 504 Service Agreement or Plan, must that Plan include the specific accommodations demanded by the Parents, specifically a communications log (between home and school), preferential seating, and tutoring?6N-J-Neshaminy-ODRNo-13553-1213AS