TH vs. School District Pleasant Valley

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 15757-1415AS

Child’s Name: T.H.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 2/23/15, 3/10/15, 4/17/15

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District
Pleasant Valley
2233 Route 115
Suite 100
Brodheadsville, PA 18322-2002

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Heather Hulse, Esquire McAndrews Law Offices 30 Cassatt Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312

School District Attorney Glenna Hazeltine, Esquire King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul
One West Broad Street Suite 700 Bethlehem, PA 18018

Date Record Closed: June 5, 2015

Date of Decision: June 18, 2015

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student in this case began attending District schools in kindergarten but withdrew to attend a cyber charter school in 7th grade. Due to a diagnosis of ADHD in 1st grade, Student began receiving accommodations through a §504 /Chapter 15 Service Plan. Parent first requested an IDEA evaluation in 2010, which resulted in the District’s conclusion that Student was not IDEA eligible.

After a second evaluation conducted at Parent’s request in the fall of 2012, the District concluded that anxiety significantly interfered with Student’s educational progress by preventing regular school attendance, and identified Student as IDEA eligible in the emotional disturbance (ED) and other health impairment (OHI) disability categories.

Parents initiated a due process complaint on January 2, 2015, seeking compensatory education beginning February 3, 2011 and alleging, first, that they could not reasonably have known until January 2013, when the District offered an IEP based upon the 2012 evaluation, that the District had violated its child find obligation, and thereby had previously denied Student a FAPE by finding Student ineligible for special education services after the 2010 evaluation. Parents also alleged that the District failed to provide a FAPE to Student from the time it offered the first IEP in January 2013, and at the due process hearing, sought requested compensatory education to the end of the 2012/2013 school year.

Parents’ claims were limited by a ruling on the record to the two year period beginning January 2, 2013 through the end of the 2012/2013 school year, since Parents knew or should have known of the action that formed the basis of the child find claim more than two years before the complaint was filed. Because the District failed to adequately address Student’s needs, particularly the anxiety which it identified as the primary basis for Student’s IDEA eligibility, Student is awarded full days of compensatory education for the period in dispute.

ISSUES

Did the School District’s December 2012 evaluation correctly identify Student’s disabilities, and more importantly, all educational needs arising from Student’s disabilities?

Did the School District develop appropriate IEPs that addressed all of Student’s disability-related needs?

If not, is Student entitled to an award of compensatory education?

If compensatory education is due, in what amount, in what form and for what period should compensatory education be awarded?

Did the School District fail to identify Student as a child with a disability under IDEA at the time of the first evaluation in September 2010, and therefore, was Student denied a FAPE for the period before an IEP was in place?

Is a “child find” claim, if any, barred by the IDEA two year statute of limitations?

T-H-Pleasant-Valley-ODRNo-15757-1415AS

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