SH vs. Great Valley School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: S.H.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: January 12, 2012 January 13, 2012 January 19, 2012 February 2, 2012 February 10, 2012

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Case # 2420-1112KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Great Valley School District 47 Church Road
Malvern, PA 19355

Representative:

Mark W. Voigt, Esquire
Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus 600 W. Germantown Pike
Suite 400
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

David Painter, Esquire
Sweet Stevens Katz & Williams 331 E. Butler Avenue
P.O. Box 5069
New Britain, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: March 9, 2012

Date of Decision: March 27, 2012

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[Student] (hereinafter “student”)1 is a [pre-teenaged] student residing in the Great Valley School District (“District”). The parties agree that the student is a protected handicapped student under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (specifically under Section 504 of that statute, hence the follow-on reference to “Section 504”) and Pennsylvania education regulations related to students with identified needs who are not eligible for special education (“Chapter 15”).2 But the parties dispute whether the student is a student who should be identified as a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”) and Pennsylvania special education regulations (“Chapter 14”).3

As a result, parents feel the District has not appropriately addressed the student’s emotional and behavioral needs in the educational environment. Therefore, parents argue, the District has denied the student a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”), failing to meet its obligations under IDEIA to identify the student as eligible under

that statute and to provide special education and related services. Parents seek an award of compensatory education and tuition reimbursement for their unilateral private educational placement of the student, as well as reimbursement for fees associated with expert testimony at the hearing.

The District argues that it has provided a FAPE to the student under its obligations to the student arising from Section 504. But the District argues that is has no obligations to the student arising from IDEIA because the student does not qualify as a student with a disability under the terms of that statute. As such, the District feels that no remedy is warranted because it has not failed to provide a FAPE to the student wherever it had such an obligation.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of District.

ISSUES

Is the student eligible for special education and related services as a student with a disability under the terms of the IDEIA?

If so, has the District failed to provide the student with a FAPE, as required by IDEIA?

If so, is compensatory education owed to the student and/or tuition reimbursement owed to parents?

Did the District provide the student with a FAPE, as required by Section 504?

If not, is compensatory education owed to the student and/or tuition reimbursement owed to parents?

Are parents entitled, under Section 504, to reimbursement for fees associated with expert testimony at the hearing?

S-H-Great-Valley-ODRNo-2420-1112KE-

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