PP vs. Pleasant Valley School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: P.P.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 00587-0910 AS

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Pleasant Valley School District One School Lane, Rte 115

Brodheadsville, PA 18322-2002

Representative: Pro Se

Glenna M. Hazeltine, Esquire
King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC
One West Broad Street
Suite 700
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Date of Resolution Session Waived

Date of Hearing: May 13, 2010

Record Closed: May 17, 2010

Date of Decision: May 30, 2010

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is a late teen-aged student, who at the time of the hearing was enrolled in the eleventh grade in the District but whose residence is and has been unknown to this hearing officer. (NT 6-1 to 9-24, 37-24 to 39-15.) At relevant times, the Student was eligible for special education with an exceptionality of Specific Learning Disability. (NT 33-5 to 34-21.)

Parents requested due process by filing a Complaint Notice (complaint) in November or December 2009. (S-8.) The exact date is unclear because there are two documents with multiple dates on them. Ibid. The District filed three successive challenges to the sufficiency of these documents and an amended version which I allowed. (S-9, S-12, S-14, S-15, S-19.) On March 11, 2010, the Parents filed an amended complaint, which I found to be sufficient on March 22, 2010. (S-19.)

The Parents complained of inappropriate prolonging of the registration process, slander, defamation, inappropriate disciplinary action, inclusion of the Student in an IEP meeting contrary to Parents’ wishes, a verbal “attack” on the Student, and that the District provided the student with inappropriate levels of work difficulty in reading comprehension and mathematics, including direction of the Student to answer only one question per day in mathematics. (S-19.) The Parents requested money damages and compensation, which I interpreted to include compensatory education. (NT 56-5 to 24, 36-17 to 25; S-19.) The Parents also requested private tutoring and payment for higher education. (NT 36-17 to 25.)

The District moved to dismiss the Parents’ claims by filings on December 31, 2009, January 11, 2010 and February 22, 2010. (S-10, S-11, S-13.) I partially granted the District’s motions on February 12, 2010, dismissing allegations of slander and allegations of inappropriate disciplinary action that did not amount to a change of placement. (NT 36-8 to 25, 44-20 to 48-19, 52-4 to 55-1, 55-8 to 22; S-12.) I also dismissed claims for damages and for pain and suffering. Ibid. I reserved decision pending a hearing on all other claims in the complaint. (S-12; S-16.) The hearing in this matter commenced on May 13, 2010, and was completed the same day. The entire District document book was admitted into evidence. (NT 153-10 to 154-8.) The record closed on May 17, upon receipt of the transcript.

ISSUES

  1. Did the District deprive the student of a free appropriate public education, during the 2009-2010 school year, by teaching Student in the SOAR to Success reading comprehension program at a level that was below Student’s level of academic achievement, by failing to teach Student writing, and by instructing Student to answer only one question per day in mathematics?
  2. Did the District deprive the student of a free appropriate public education, during the 2009-2010 school year, by inviting Student to an IEP meeting contrary to the Parents’ wishes and by yelling at Student during the meeting?
  3. Should the hearing officer order the District to pay compensatory education for any part of the 2009-2010 school year?
P-P-Pleasant-Valley-ODRNo-00587-0910-AS

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