Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: R.B.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: August 8, 2016 August 17, 2016 August 30, 2016
ODR Case #17916-1516AS
Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]
Bethel Park School District 301 Church Road
Bethel Park, PA 15102
Michelle Kline, Esquire John Valantassis, Esquire 429 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Michael Brungo, Esquire 424 South 27th Street Suite 210
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Date of Decision: October 18, 2016
Hearing Officer: Michael J. McElligott, Esquire
[The student] (“student”)1 is a [mid-teenaged] student residing in the Bethel Park School District (“District”). The parties agree that the student qualifies under the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”)2 for specially designed instruction/related services as a student with an emotional disturbance.
Parents claim, in their complaint, that the student was denied a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) during the student’s enrollment in the District for the school years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 and seek a compensatory education remedy for that alleged denial. In the 2015-2016 school year, the student was enrolled unilaterally in a private placement, and parents seek a tuition reimbursement remedy for that enrollment in the 2015-2016 school year. Additionally, parents claim that the District has violated its obligations to the student under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”).3
The District counters that at all times it provided FAPE to the student for the period of the student’s enrollment, including the proposed programming rejected by parents prior to the unilateral enrollment of the student in a private placement. As such, the District argues that the parents are not entitled to remedy, whether compensatory education or tuition reimbursement.
For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the parents in part and the District in part.
Did the District provide the student with FAPE for the school years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015?
If not, is the student entitled to compensatory education?
Are parents entitled to tuition reimbursement
for the unilateral private placement
for the school years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school year?