RT vs. Avon Grove School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 14573-1314KE

Child’s Name: R.T.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 3/31/14, 4/17/14, 4/24/14, 4/29/14

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District
Avon Grove
107 Schoolhouse Road West Grove, PA 19390

Representative:

Parent Attorney Penelope Boyd, Esq. 535 North Church Street West Chester, PA 19380

School District Attorney
Kathleen Metcalfe, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 Butler Avenue, P.O. Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: June 2, 2014

Date of Decision: June 22, 2014

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student in this case developed a physical disorder that substantially impacts Student’s ability to attend school due to a disruption of a normal sleep pattern. Prior to onset in the spring of 2013, Student was a socially and academically successful high school student who had never exhibited educational problems of any kind.

Parents became concerned about Student’s unusually high and increasing school absences toward the end of the 2012/2013 school year, culminating in a truancy complaint that prompted Parents to investigate a potential sleep disorder. Two doctors specializing in sleep disorders reached the same diagnosis and prescribed nearly identical sleep behavior programs to control the symptoms, but those have been largely unsuccessful for Student.

In response to Parents’ request for an evaluation for an IEP or a §504 plan, the District initiated a full psycho-educational evaluation and determined in March 2014 that Student is not IDEA eligible, but is a protected handicapped student under §504 and Chapter 15 of the Pennsylvania Code.

Parents initially filed a due process complaint in January 2014, and later submitted an amended complaint, alleging a child find claim, challenging the District’s procedures for conducting a §504 evaluation and alleging a denial of services for most of the 2013/2014 school year.

The hearing was held in four sessions from the end of March to the end of April 2014. For the reasons that follow, Parents are awarded limited equitable relief for the District’s failure to timely complete its evaluation, resulting in a delayed determination of Student’s protected status and the adverse consequences of truancy convictions related to the primary symptom of Student’s disability. In all other respects, however, Parents’ claims are denied.

ISSUES

  1. Did the School District fail to timely initiate an evaluation of Student?
  2. Was the scope of the District’s evaluation inappropriate for the suspected disorder?
  3. Did the District fail to consider all medical records concerning Student’s disorder?
  4. Did the District fail to provide reasonable accommodations for Student’s disorder during the 2013/2014 school year, including during the evaluation process?
  5. Did the School District violate §504 by excluding Student from Student’s educational program during the 2013/2014 school year?
  6. If any of the District’s actions constituted §504 violations, is Student entitled to compensatory education and/or other equitable relief, and if so, in what form and amount?
R-T-Avon-Grove-ODRNo-14573-1314KE

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