NM vs. Wyoming Valley West School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: N.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Date of Hearing: June 19, 2015

CLOSED HEARING
ODR Case # 16242-1415KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Wyoming Valley West School District 450 North Maple Avenue
Kingston, PA 18704

Representative:

Drew Christian, Esq. 801 Monroe Avenue Scranton, PA 18510

Angela Evans, Esq.
2 South Main Street /Suite 303 Pittston, PA 18640

Date Record Closed: July 20, 2015

Date of Decision: August 4, 2015

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION

[Student] (“student”)1 is [an early teenaged] student who has been identified as a student with a disability under federal and Pennsylvania special education laws,2 namely as a student with an emotional disturbance, autism, and a specific learning disability. For approximately ten weeks from late February – early May 2015, the student was at a psychiatric facility within the geographical boundaries of the Wyoming Valley West School District (“District”). The student resides in another school district.

Parent claims that under the terms of the Section 13-1306 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code (“Section 1306”),3 the student was a ‘non-resident inmate’ while at the psychiatric facility. Therefore, the parent argues that the District had statutory duties to provide the student with special education under the terms of the student’s individualized education plan (“IEP”). Parent claims that the student was not provided with appropriate programming by the District while at the facility and, as a result, parent claims that the student was denied a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”).

The District counters that the psychiatric facility within the boundaries of the District does not qualify under the terms of Section 1306 and, therefore, the District had no obligations to provide FAPE to the student. The District also presents alternative arguments related to potential outcomes should this position not be adopted.

For the reasons set forth below, I find that the District denied the student FAPE but that the student is not entitled to compensatory education.

ISSUES

Does the District have obligations to the student regarding the provision of FAPE?

If so, was the student denied FAPE by the District? If so, is compensatory education owed to the student?

N-M-Wyoming-Valley-West-ODRNo-16242-1415KE

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