Student vs. Souderton Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: Student

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx

Dates of Hearing: May 19, 2008, June 13, 2008, July 23, 2008, July 24, 2008, August 4, 2008, September 10, 2008, September 11, 2008
CLOSED HEARING
ODR #8698/07-08 KE

Parties to the Hearing:

Souderton Area School District 760 Lower Road
Souderton, PA 18964-3211

Representative:

Frederick M. Stanczak, Esquire 179 North Broad Street Doylestown, PA 18901

Karl A. Romberger, Esquire Fox Rothschild LLP
10 Sentry Parkway, Suite 200 P.O. Box 3001

Blue Bell PA 19422-3001

Date Record Closed: October 10, 2008

Date of Decision: October 24, 2008

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

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student (Student) is a pre-teen aged child who was during all times relevant to this due process matter a resident of the Souderton Area School District (District). (NT 10.) The Student at all relevant times was identified as a child with a disability for special education purposes under the category of Serious Emotional Disturbance. (NT 11-12.) On or about March 20, 2008, the Student was placed in an institutional residential setting, and came under the jurisdiction of another school district for educational programming. (NT 11.)

(Parents) requested due process by letter of counsel on April 3, 2008, alleging a failure to provide FAPE, and sought compensatory education and an Independent Educational Evaluation. The Parents complained that the Student experienced serious, pathological emotional difficulties, leading to dysfunctional and aggressive behaviors and a decline in Student’s academic progress in mathematics, reading and writing. The District denied that the Student’s academic progress declined, and asserted that it had provided FAPE during the relevant period. It also asserted that the Student’s bad behaviors were caused by factors outside of the District’s control and that it had provided the best educational services possible under the circumstances.

The hearing was conducted on seven dates from May 19, 20081 to September 11, 2008. The parties requested written summations, and the deadline was extended at request of counsel. The record closed on October 10, 2008, upon receipt of the summations.

ISSUES

  1. Did the District offer an appropriate IEP to the Student during the relevant time period (from the first day of school in September, 2006 until the date on which Student left the District, March 20, 2008)?
  1. During the relevant time period, did the District appropriately implement the IEP so as to provide the Student with a free and appropriate public education?
  2. Did the District fail to provide the Parents with notice and a reasonable opportunity to participate in an IEP meeting in February, 2008?
  3. Should the hearing officer award compensatory education to the Student for any part of the relevant period, and, if so, should that award be measured in full school days?
Student-Souderton-Area-ODRNo-8698-07-08-KE

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