NM vs. Tamaqua Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: NM

ODR #8884/07-08 KE

Date of Birth: Xx/xx/xx

Date of Hearing: September 9, 2008

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Mr.
Ms.

Tamaqua Area School District PO Box 112
Tamaqua, Pennsylvania 18252

Representative: Pro Se

Angela Januski Evans, Esquire Marshall, Dennehey, Warner et al 401 Adams Avenue, Suite 400 Scranton, Pennsylvania 18510

Date Transcript Received: September 14, 2008

Date of Decision: September 25, 2008

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

Background

Student is a middle teen age eligible student who was formerly a resident of the Tamaqua Area School District (hereinafter District). Student is classified under the category of emotional disturbance. Student was enrolled in a cyber-charter school; following an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization the treatment team at the hospital recommended a partial hospitalization program. Rather than return Student to the cyber-charter school, Parents enrolled Student in the District on or about April 9, 2008. The District immediately began providing the student with alternative education after school hours in one of the District’s school buildings, in the amount of five hours per week, with the understanding that the District would seek a school-based partial hospitalization placement for Student. Despite several applications, Student was not accepted into any of the school-based partial hospitalization programs to which the District applied, so Student continued receiving alternative education in a school building until on or about May 27th at which time the Parents moved to another school district. In total Student was enrolled in the District for a period of about seven weeks. The Parents filed for this hearing because they believe that the District’s inability to promptly locate and effect admission for Student to a school-based partial hospitalization program constituted a denial of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). They are seeking compensatory education services.

District Exhibits admitted to the record were: S-4, S-6, S-7, S-8, S-9, S-14, S-15, S-16, S- 19 and S-20. An objection to P-1 was sustained and that exhibit is not part of the record and was not used in writing this decision, although it is included in the packet of exhibits should a reviewing body find that the exclusion was improper.

Issue

  1. Did the Tamaqua Area School District fail to provide Student a free appropriate public education during the seven week period Student was enrolled in the District?
  2. If the District did not offer Student FAPE during this time period, is Student entitled to compensatory education and in what form and amount?
NM-Tamaqua-Area-ODRNo-8884-07-08-KE

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