NS vs. Mars Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

Child’s Name: N.S.

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx
Date(s) of Hearing: 2/27/06; 2/28/06; 3/1/06

CLOSED HEARING
ODR NO. 6289/05-06

Parents Parent

School District:

Mars Area School District 116 Browns Hill Road Valencia, PA 16059

Parents’ Representative:

Lilian Akin, Esq. 428 Connor Street Pittsburgh, PA 15207

District Representative:

Thomas Breth, Esq.
Dillon, McCandless, King, Coulter 128 W. Cunningham St.
Butler, PA 16001

Date of Decision: 3/12/06
Hearing Officer: Margaret Drayden, Esq.

Précis

This expedited hearing was requested by Parent after Student, an identified child in need of special education, violated School District Board Policy Nos. 730 (entitled: Discipline) and 735 (entitled: Terroristic Threats/Acts) twice within the space of approximately six weeks. Student, currently a 6th grade student, was initially evaluated (the Evaluation Report is hereafter referred to as an “ER”) on 1/27/01, while in 1st grade, as eligible as a student with Other Health Impairments (“OHI”) due to his symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”). However, when re-evaluated during the 4th grade, due to the results of the 3/31/04 ER, his eligibility was changed to Learning Disability: Written Expression with a secondary disability category of Speech and Language (“S/L”).

On Wednesday, December 14, 2005, students were discussing activities for a student government day and Student [made a remark]. A Manifestation Determination team determined that Student’s behavior was not a manifestation of his disability. Student was suspended for 10 days.1

On Friday, January 27, 2006, Student broke school rules again by [making another remark]. Yet another Manifestation Determination team found Student’s behavior was not a manifestation of his disability. Parent contends Student’s impulsivity due to his ADHD interferes with his ability to control his inappropriate behaviors and thus the Manifestation Determination team should have found his behaviors stemmed from his disability and he should not face a School Board disciplinary meeting, with the possibility of being expelled from school.

Issues

1. Did the School District violate Parent’s procedural rights by failing to obtain parental input into the manifestation determination?

2. Was Student’s behavior a manifestation of his disability?

3. Does the latest IEP appropriately address Student’s behavior, impulsivity and attentional difficulties emanating from ADHD?

N-S-Mars-Area-ODRNo-6289-05-06

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