Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: Q.H.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
ODR No. 16378-14-15-AS
Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]
School District of Philadelphia 801 North Richmond Street Fleetwood, PA 19522-1031
Vanita Kalra, Esquire
David J. Berney, Esquire
Law Offices of David J. Berney 1628 JFK Boulevard, Suite 1000 Philadelphia, PA 19103
Sarah W. Egoville, Esquire Heather D. Matejik, Esquire Fox Rothschild, LLP
10 Sentry Parkway, Suite 200 Blue Bell, PA 19422-3001
Dates of Hearing: July 28, 2015; August 19, 2015; September 18, 2015; September 21, 2018; October 5, 2015; October 7, 2015
Record Closed: October 26, 2015
Date of Decision: November 9, 2015
Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire, CHO
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The child named in this matter (Student)1 is a resident of the District named in this matter (District), and is enrolled in a District high school. (NT 9-10.) Student’s mother (Parent) filed this due process request, asking for an independent educational evaluation at public expense; a declaration regarding asserted procedural violations; compensatory education (in the form of a funded special needs trust) for an asserted failure to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) during the two year period preceding the filing of the complaint2; and a prospective order for placement at a private school selected and specified by Parent (School). Parent sought these orders pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA); section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504); and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101, et seq. (ADA).3 The District asserts that its services were appropriate during the relevant period, that Parent predetermined the private placement, and that the hearing officer lacks authority to order either the creation of a special needs trust or a specific, named private placement.
The hearing was completed in six sessions. I have determined the credibility of all witnesses and I have considered and weighed all of the evidence of record. I conclude that the District failed to provide a FAPE to Student, and I enter the appropriate equitable relief.
- During the relevant period of time4, did the District provide an appropriate evaluation to Student?
- During the relevant period of time, did the District offer and provide an appropriate educational placement to Student?
- During the relevant period of time, did the District offer and provide an appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP) to Student, including appropriate goals, specially designed instruction and related services?
- During the relevant period of time, did the District comply with the procedural requirements of the IDEA for parental participation in the educational planning process and required participants at IEP team meetings?
- Should the hearing officer order the District to provide Student with an independent educational evaluation at public expense?
- Should the hearing officer order the District to place Student in the private school designated by Parent at public expense, or any other placement?
- Should the hearing officer order the District to provide Student with compensatory education for or on account of all or any part of the relevant period, and should the hearing officer order that such compensatory education be provided by the District in the form of a funded special needs trust?