SP vs. Fairview School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: S.P.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: July 2, 2012 August 30, 2012 September 6, 2012 November 8, 2012

OPEN HEARING

ODR Case # 2628-1112KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Fairview School District 7460 McCray Road Fairview, PA 16413

Representative:

Jeffrey Ruder, Esquire 429 Forbes Avenue Suite 450
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Thomas Lent, Esquire
717 State Street / Suite 701 Erie, PA 16501

Date Record Closed: December 10, 2012

Date of Decision: January 7, 2013

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION

[Student] (hereinafter “student”)1 is a [late-teenaged] student who resides in the Fairview School District (“District”). The parties dispute whether the student should have been identified by the District 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”),2 as well as whether the District met its obligations to the 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 which implement Section 504 (“Chapter 15”).3 Particularly, the dispute centers on whether the District should have identified the student as a student with a health impairment, due to migraine headaches, given the student’s non-attendance at school and/or non-engagement in cyber school in the 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and current 2012-2013 school years.4 Additionally, parents claim that the District discriminated against the student as a result of the student’s disability. As a result of these claims, parents claim the student was denied a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) and seek compensatory education as a remedy.

The District counters that the student does not qualify as a student with a disability under the terms of IDEIA/Chapter 14 because the student does not require specially designed instruction. To the extent that the student qualified as a student with a disability under Section 504/Chapter 15, the District argues that those needs were met with an appropriate Section 504 plan. For those reasons, the District claims that, at all times, it met is obligations to the student and that no compensatory education is owed.

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

ISSUES

Should the student have been identified
as a student with a disability under the IDEIA?

Did the District provide FAPE to the student under its Section 504 obligations?

Did the District discriminate against the student on the basis of the student’s disability
in violation of Section 504?

If any of these questions are answered in the affirmative, is compensatory education owed to the student?

S-P-Fairview-ODRNo-2628-1112KE

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