SM vs. School District Upper Dublin

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 00328-0910KE

Child’s Name: SM
Date of Birth: xx/xx/xxxx
Dates of Hearing: 11/18/09, 12/17/09; 1/19/10, 1/21/10, 1/26/10, 2/9/10, 3/3/10

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

School District
Upper Dublin
1580 Fort Washington Avenue Maple Glen, PA 19002

Representative:

Parent Attorney
David G. C. Arnold, Esquire Suite 106, 920 Matsonford Road West Conshohocken, PA 19428

School District Attorney Claudia Huot, Esquire
Wisler, Pearlstine
484 Norristown Road Suite 100 Blue Bell, PA 19422

Date Record Closed: March 23, 2010

Date of Decision: April 7, 2010

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is a first grade student in the Upper Dublin School District (hereinafter District) with a severe allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. There is no dispute that by reason of those allergies, Student is a qualified student, protected from discrimination on the basis of handicap, under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. There are no other restrictions on Student’s ability to participate in all aspects of a public school education program to the same extent as typical children.

After several months of negotiation, the parties signed a §504 Service Agreement in the fall of 2008, Student’s kindergarten year. Parents, however, remained dissatisfied with its terms, believing that it was insufficient to fully assure Student’s safety. Parents also believe that the Agreement was not properly implemented by the District in several respects. When the parties were unable to reach a final agreement on revisions for the current school year, Parents filed a due process complaint in October 2009, followed by a seven session hearing held between November 18, 2009 and March 4, 2010.

For the reasons explained below, Parents claims based upon the insufficiency of the accommodation in place to assure Student’s safety, the District’s alleged failure to properly implement the Agreement and the District’s alleged violations of it obligation to provide services to Student in the least restrictive environment (LRE) will be denied. The District will, however, be directed to make certain changes to the §504 Service Agreement, primarily to reflect all protections currently provided to Student. The District will also be directed to inform the PTO that it is obligated to assure that the Service Agreement is implemented with respect to all activities that the PTO conducts within the elementary school building or on school grounds.

ISSUES

  1. Has the District provided Student with a §504 Service Agreement sufficient to assure that he could safely attend school during the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 school years?
  2. Has the Upper Dublin School District properly implemented the §504 Service
  3. Agreement currently in effect to assure that Student needs are met as adequately
    as the needs of his non-disabled peers in terms of both safety and full participation in school and school-related activities?
  4. Does the revised Service Agreement proposed by the Upper Dublin School District reflect all accommodations currently provided to Student to assure his safety?
SM-Upper-Dublin-ODRNo-00328-0910KE

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