RT vs. Hatboro-Horsham School District

Pennsylvania
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

Child’s Name: R.T.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: June 18, 2014 August 8, 2014 August 11, 2014 August 28, 2014

OPEN HEARING
ODR File No. 14915-1314AS

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Hatboro-Horsham School District 229 Meetinghouse Road Horsham, PA 19044

Representative:
Joseph W. Montgomery, Esquire Montgomery Law, LLC
1420 Locust Street, Suite 420 Philadelphia, PA 19101

Christina M. Stephanos, Esquire Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams LLP 331 E. Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: September 19, 2014

Date of Decision: October 3, 2014

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, M.Ed., J.D.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The student (hereafter Student)1 is a preteen-aged student in the Hatboro-Horsham School District (District) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).2 Student’s Parents 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, and sought various forms of relief.

The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over four sessions, at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. The Parents sought to establish that the District failed to provide Student with FAPE throughout the time period in question, and requested a number of remedies including compensatory education, specific Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) at public expense, and explicit directives for Student’s programming moving forward: placement in an approved private school and/or specific directives to the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. The District maintained that its special education program, as offered and implemented, was appropriate for Student and that no remedy was warranted. A request by the Parents to have their independent evaluator observe Student during the course of the proceedings at public expense was denied, but they were not precluded from seeking reimbursement for those observations as part of their IEE claim.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the Parents on a portion of their claims and will order appropriate relief. I decline to order a prospective private placement.

ISSUES

  1. Whether the Student has been provided with an appropriate special education program from August 29, 2011 through the present;
  2. If Student’s educational program has not been appropriate, is Student entitled to compensatory education and, if so, in what form and amount;
  3. Whether Student’s educational program should include the removal of the full-time Personal Care Assistant (PCA);
  4. Whether the District should be required to provide training for the Parents by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) to help them work with Student to generalize skills learned into the home and community;
  5. Whether the Parents are entitled to an IEE for speech/language and psychiatric evaluations, and for reimbursement for observations by their private psychologist during the summer of 2014; and
  6. Whether Student should be placed prospectively in a private school or, alternatively, whether Student’s IEP team should be directed to reconvene and determine an appropriate placement.
R-T-Hatboro-Horsham-ODRNo-14915-1314AS

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