RH vs. Saucon Valley School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: R.H.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing:

August 14, 2014 September 15, 2014

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Case # 15186-1314KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parent

Parent

Saucon Valley School District 2097 Polk Valley Road Hellertown, PA 18055

Representative:

Adam Wilson, Esquire 2651 Main Street Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

Alyssa Lopiano-Reilly, Esquire 1067 Pennsylvania Avenue Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Lucas Repka, Esquire One West Broad Street Suite 700
Bethlehem, PA 18108

Date Record Closed: September 15, 2014

Date of Decision: September 25, 2014

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION

[Student] (“student”) is a [teenaged] student who has been identified as a student eligible as a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEA”)1. The student resides in the Saucon Valley School District (“District”). The student’s parents are divorced.

While not strictly a matter of evidence, as will be explained below, the parties do not dispute the student’s eligibility under IDEA as a student with Down Syndrome, behavior needs, speech and language needs, among the other deficits.2 Instead, the student’s mother objects to a proposed change in the student’s placement by the District, a change- in-placement supported by the student’s father. By allegation, the student has attended District schools and, through the 2013-2014 school year, those District-based placements have been largely inclusive with modifications and supports in the regular education setting where the student would attend if not disabled. For the 2014-2015 school year, again by allegation, the District proposed that the student receive a life- skills curriculum in a more restrictive placement, a life-skills classroom for students with severe/profound disabilities, a classroom operated by the local intermediate unit (“IU”) in an out-of-District location.

Based on events subsequent to the filing of mother’s special education due process complaint, the complaint which led to these proceedings, the ability of student’s mother to continue in this hearing as a “parent” under the terms of the IDEA has been limited by a court of competent jurisdiction. Therefore, as set forth below, mother’s complaint will be dismissed.

ISSUES

Is the student’s mother still a “parent”,
as defined under IDEA
and Pennsylvania special education regulations?

If not, can mother continue to pursue remedies through special education due process proceedings?

R-H-Saucon-Valley-ODRNo-15186-1314KE

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