SS vs. Abington School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 2805-1112AS

Child’s Name: S.S.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 5/23/12, 6/29/12

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Abington School District 970 Highland Avenue Abington PA 19001-4535

Representative: None

Claudia L. Huot, Esquire
Wisler Pearlstine, LLP
Blue Bell Executive Campus 460 Norristown Road, Suite 110 Blue Bell, PA 19422

Date Record Closed: July 24, 2012

Date of Decision: August 6, 2012

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student in this case has been enrolled and attending school in the District since the 2009- 2010 school year, and is IDEA eligible due to the effects of several disabilities. Because of a significant new medical condition that arose during the summer of 2011, Parents requested homebound instruction for Student at the start of the 2011-2012 school year, which the District provided after receiving medical documentation as it requested. When it became obvious that Student would be unable to return to school for at least several months, Student’s educational placement was changed to instruction in the home in accordance with District policy. Parents did not disagree with the District’s change of placement recommendation.

In January 2012, anticipating Student’s ability to return to school on February 1, 2012, the District and Parents made tentative plans for another change in placement back to the school setting. Student’s medical condition did not improve sufficiently, however, to permit returning to school and Student ultimately remained in the instruction in the home placement through the end of the 2011-12 school year.

Parents filed a due process complaint on February 1, 2012, asserting that the District committed a number of procedural violations arising from the District’s insistence that Student’s educational program be delivered in the school setting beginning February 1, 2012 due to a lack of updated medical information, notwithstanding Student’s medical condition and the absence of a NOREP proposing a change of placement. A due process hearing was conducted over two sessions in May and July 2012. For the reasons explained below, some of the District’s actions concerning Student constituted IDEA procedural violations. The District, therefore, will be required to assure compliance with IDEA requirements with respect to any proposed change of placement.

ISSUES

  1. Did the District commit any procedural violations of the IDEA statute by improperly changing or proposing to change Student’s placement without issuing a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP)?
  2. Did the District improperly impose certain homebound instruction requirements on Student’s instruction in the home special education placement?
  3. Did the District fail to provide certain documents to Parents that were necessary for the Parents to meaningfully participate in the process of making educational placement decisions for Student?
S-S-Abington-ODRNo-2805-1112AS-

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