Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: S. S.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Date of Hearing: 3/5/2015
ODR File No. 15919-14-15 KE
Parties to the Hearing:
Local Education Agency Pittsburgh School District 341 South Bellefield Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3516
Parent Attorney None
Rebecca Heaton Hall Esq.
Weiss Burkardt Kramer, LLC
445 Fort Pitt Boulevard, Suite 503 Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Date Record Closed: March 17, 2015
Date of Decision: March 21, 2015
Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, Esq.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The student (hereafter Student)1 is a teenaged student in the Pittsburgh School District (District) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)2 as a child with Autism. Student’s Parents3 filed a due process complaint against the District after they disagreed with the discipline it imposed on Student in February 2015.
The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over a single session,4 at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. The Parents challenged the disciplinary placement in an alternative educational setting (AES), and the District sought to establish that its actions in making this placement determination were proper under the IDEA.
For the reasons set forth below, I am compelled to find in favor of the District, with modifications, and will include specific directives to the District related to this disciplinary incident.
- Whether the District properly determined that Student could be removed to an alternative educational setting for a 45-day period, in addition to a 2-day suspension; and
- Whether Student’s Individualized Education Program can be implemented in that AES placement.