Student vs. Methacton School District

PENNSYLVANIA
Special Education Hearing Officer

Decision ODR#6336/05-06
Due Process Hearing
Student
Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx
Date of Hearing: April 25, May 30, June 29, 2006

Open Hearing

Parties to the Hearing: Mr. and Mrs. Parent

Methacton School District 1001 Kriebel Mill Road Norristown, PA 19403-1047

Representative:

Mark Voight, Esquire
Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus 600 West Germantown Avenue, Suite 400 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

Sharon Montanye, Esquire Sweet, Stevens, Tucker, and Katz PO Box 5069, 331 Butler Avenue New Britain, PA 18901

Transcript Received: July 3, 2006
Closing Statement Received, File Closed July 14, 2006

Date of Decision: July 24, 2006
Hearing Officer: Max Wald, Ed.D.

Background

Student is [an elementary school-aged] child living with Parent(s) within the Methacton School District (hereinafter District). The Student has been identified as a child with a disability and is currently assigned to an Emotional Support Class provided by the County Intermediate Unit (hereinafter IU).

Prior to enrollment in the District and IU the Student attended four day care centers but was asked to leave each one of them because of temper outbursts that resulted in aggressive and physical behavior toward children and adults. This behavior remains and is periodically exhibited at the present time.

The Student entered the kindergarten in the District and was assigned to an IU class outside of the District. As of June 2006 the Student has completed her first grade experience and has according to her teacher made minimal progress academically despite multiple IEPs

During the 2005-2006 school year the Parents requested the administration of an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). The District agreed to pay for the IEE to the extent of the costs exceeding the family’s medical coverage.

During the course of the IEE the Parents after a period of strained relationships with the District filed for a due process hearing claiming that Student had been denied a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for the period covering the 2004-2005 and 2005- 2006 school years (kindergarten and first grade),

Upon notice of the due process hearing the District withdrew its offer to pay the excess, above insurance, costs of the IEE. Thus FAPE, IEE, compensatory education, and assignment to an approved private school (APS) became the focus of the hearing along with the independent evaluator’s assertion that the child, among other disabilities, was also autistic.

After the hearing commenced, the District agreed to pay the full cost of the IEE and the Parents indicated that they would not consider sending their daughter to an APS and insisted that Student remain in a public school setting.

The remaining issues for the hearing were thus compensatory education and FAPE, and the Student’s identification.

Issues

  1. Did the School District offer a free appropriate public education to Student during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school years?
  2. If School District did not offer a FAPE during the period in question is the Student entitled to compensatory education and in what amounts?
  3. Was the Student properly identified as a student in need of emotional support?
Student-Methacton-ODRNo-6336-05-06

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