SL vs. Lower Merion School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 00007-0910KE

Child’s Name: S.L.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: 5/12/11, 7/6/11

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District
Lower Merion
301 E. Montgomery Avenue Ardmore, PA 19003-3338

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Benjamin Geffen, Esq.
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia

1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

School District Attorney
Gail Weilhimer, Esq.
Wisler, Pearlstine, LLP
484 Norristown Road, Suite 100 Blue Bell, PA 19422

Date Record Closed: July 21, 2011

Date of Decision: August 10, 2011

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The sole substantive issue for decision in this case is whether the School District should have provided an independent educational evaluation (IEE) for Student in the fall of 2009 pursuant to Parents’ due process complaint.1 The complaint was initially dismissed based upon the IDEA regulations specifying how Parents may obtain an IEE at public expense.

Upon appeal to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the dismissal was reversed, requiring a hearing to determine the appropriateness of the District’s initial evaluation of Student during the 2008/2009 school year. The hearing was conducted over 2 sessions in May and July 2011. For the reasons that follow, the District’s initial evaluation was appropriate and yielded accurate results, justifying the District’s substantive conclusion that Student was not IDEA eligible. In addition, since Student graduated from high school before the conclusion of the hearing in this matter, no IDEA remedy could properly be awarded at this time. Parents’ request for an IEE is, therefore, denied.

ISSUE

Was the School District’s initial evaluation of Student during the 2008/2009 school year appropriate, and if not, is the District required to fund an independent educational evaluation of Student at this time?

S-L-Lower-Merion-ODRNo-00007-0910KE

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