Student vs. North Penn School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: Student

ODR #00902/09-10 AS

Date of Birth: Xx/xx/xx

Date of Hearing: May 7, 2010

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

School District
North Penn School District 401 E. Hancock Street Lansdale, PA 19446

Representative:

Hollie John, Esquire
Connolly, Jacobson & John
188 North Main Street Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901

School District Attorney
Brian Ford, Esq
Dishell, Bartle, Yanoff & Dooley P.O. Box 107
1800 Pennbrook Parkway, Ste. 200 Lansdale, PA 19446

Date Record Closed: May 17, 2010

Date of Decision: June 1, 2010

Hearing Officer: Deborah G. DeLauro, Esq

Background

Student (“Student”) 1is an elementary school aged fourth grade student who resides in the North Penn School District with Student’s parents, (“Parents”). Student is eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) pursuant to the classification of Autism. During the 2009-2010 school year, Student participated with non-disabled children in the regular education class for all but social skills instruction one time a week for 30 minutes. Contending that the District failed to offer an appropriate placement for the 2010 extended school year (“ESY”), Parents filed a due process complaint on April 1, 2010 seeking placement at Camp [redacted] (“Camp”), a private summer camp, at public expense.

Specifically, Parents submit that the district failed to identify four goals in Student’s Individual Education Plan (“IEP”) that need to be addressed through ESY, and that the District failed to offer an appropriate placement for the implementation of the ESY program and failed to even consider the least restrictive environment (“LRE”).

The District responded to the Parents’ compliant on April 7, 2010 disputing both the Parents’ characterization of Student’s progress during the 2009-2010 school year and their claim that the District ignored parental input when developing its ESY offer. The District also claimed that the Pennsylvania and Federal regulations concerning ESY do not impose a mandate to place Student in the least restrictive environment (“LRE”) when school is not in session.2 Finally, the District put forward its argument that the Parents are not entitled to funding for Camp even if they can prove programmatic deficiencies in the ESY offer.

The due process hearing was commenced and completed on May 7, 2010. The parties submitted brief written closing statements on May 17, 2010. For the reasons explained below, the Parents have met their burden by a preponderance of the evidence.

Therefore, based on the record complied during the hearing and the arguments of counsel, the District must locate an appropriate program for Student which includes participation with non-disabled peers, either Camp or something similar to it.

Issues

  1. Whether the ESY program offered by the District is appropriate?
  2. Whether Camp is an appropriate ESY program?
Student-North-Penn-ODRNo-00902-09-10-AS

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