Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: R.F.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 3/6/2015, 6/3/2015, 6/4/2015, and 6/5/2015
ODR File No. 15844-14-15
Parties to the Hearing:
Local Education Agency Warren County School District 6820 Market Street
Russell, PA 16345
Charles Steele, Esq. Christopher Elnicki, Esq.
428 Forbes Avenue, Suite 700 Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Thomas Lent, Esq.
717 State Street, Suite 701 Erie, PA 16501
Date Record Closed: July 3, 2015
Date of Decision: July 13, 2015
Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, Esq.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The student (hereafter Student)1 is an early-teenaged student in the Warren County School District (District) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).2 Student’s Parent filed a due process complaint against the District asserting that it denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,3 as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.
The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over four sessions,4 at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. The Parent sought to establish that the District failed to provide Student with FAPE from January 2012 through the end of the 2014-15 school year,5 and thereby also discriminated against Student on the basis of Student’s disability; the Parent sought compensatory education. The District maintained that its special education program, as offered and implemented, was appropriate for Student and that it did not engage in discrimination. For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the Parent on her claims.
- Whether the District provided an appropriate educational program to Student beginning in January 2012 and continuing through to the present;
- If it did not, is Student entitled to compensatory education and in what form and amount?
- Did the District discriminate against Student on the basis of Student’s disability?