Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: S. D.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 7/19/2016
ODR File No. 17651-15-16
Parties to the Hearing:
Local Education Agency Central Dauphin School District 600 Rutherford Road Harrisburg, PA 17109-5227
Representative: Parent Attorney
Christopher, J. Conrad Esq.
Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin
100 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 201 Camp Hill, PA 17011
Date Record Closed: July 19, 2016
Date of Decision: July 29, 2016
Hearing Officer: Charles W. Jelley Esq. LL.M.
Background and Procedural History
The Parents filed a Chapter 16 Gifted Education Due Process Complaint, alleging a denial of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for the 2016-2017 school year.1 The parties agree the Student is gifted in Math as well as several other curricula areas. Initially, the District filed a Motion to Dismiss contending the Parents’ claim was not ripe for review. After hearing oral argument, the Motion to Dismiss was denied. The matter proceeded to a one-day hearing at which time the Parents presented one witness, and the District presented three witnesses. The District presented twelve exhibits; the Parents presented eight exhibits; all exhibits were admitted and carefully reviewed in making this decision.
This dispute is about whether the Student should take Honors Geometry as a 9th grade high school freshman. The District contends the Student completed the 9th grade Honors Geometry as an 8th grade middle school student and therefore should not take Geometry in 9th grade. The District further contends the Student should instead enroll in Honors Algebra II. The Parents counter the District’s contention arguing the Student’s 9th grade course selections were built around taking Honors Geometry and AP US History. The Parents next contend that to change the agreed upon GIEP and modify the course selections would require the Student to drop AP US History. The Parents next argue that the Student’s February 2016-2017 pendent IEP includes a goal and short-term objectives for 9th grade Honors Geometry. The Parents argue that it was the consensus of the Student’s teachers, the GIEP team, and the Parents that the Student should not take AP US History and Honors Algebra II. The Parents filed the due process complaint upon learning from a variety of District administrators that the Superintendent, after a private meeting, contrary to the GIEP, decided the Student would not be permitted to take Honors Geometry.
I have reviewed the transcript of the testimony of the four witnesses, the District’s twelve exhibits, and the Parents’ eight exhibits. All exhibits were admitted into the record, all testimony was reviewed, and I am now prepared to rule. Based upon a preponderance of the evidence I find in favor of the Parents. I find that the February 2016-2017 Gifted Individual Education Program (GIEP) is appropriate.