ST vs. Lakeland School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: S.T.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 01351-1011 KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Lakeland School District 1593 Lakeland Drive Jermyn, PA 18433-9801

Representative:

Drew Christian, Esquire 801 Monroe Avenue Scranton, PA 18510

Angela J. Evans, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams, LLP
331East Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18901

Dates of Hearing: September 13, 2010; October 6, 2010

Record Closed: October 25, 2010

Date of Decision: November 8, 2010

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is an early teen-aged, ninth grade student, who at all relevant times resided within the Lakeland School District (District)1. (NT 8-10 to 18, 9-9 to 18.) The Student is identified with Specific Learning Disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA). (NT 9-5 to 6.) Parent requests due process, alleging a Child Find violation for failure to timely evaluate and identify the Student, and the denial of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years, which is the relevant period for purposes of this decision. The District asserts that the Parent failed to place it on notice of the Student’s disability for most of the relevant period and obstructed its efforts to convene an IEP meeting; it further asserts that it offered a FAPE when finally able to do so in May 2010.

The hearing was conducted and concluded in two sessions and the record closed upon receipt of written summations by counsel.

ISSUES

1. Did the District inappropriately fail to identify the Student as a child with a disability under either the IDEA or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, section 504, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504), thus failing to fulfill its child find obligation under either of those laws?

2. DidtheDistrictfailtoprovidetheStudentwithafreeappropriatepublic education during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years?

3. Should the hearing officer award compensatory education to the Student for all or any part of the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years?

4. Should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse Parent for the independent educational evaluation dated April 13, 2010?

S-T-Lakeland-School-ODRNo-01351-1011-KE

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