TM vs. Lakeland School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: T.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: 1/29/2015, 3/24/2015, 3/26/2015

CLOSED HEARING
ODR File No. 15467-14-15KE

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

Local Education Agency Lakeland School District
1355 Lakeland Drive
Scott Township, PA 18433-9801

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Heather Hulse, Esquire
McAndrews Law Office
404 N. Washington Avenue, Suite 310 Scranton, PA 18503

LEA Attorney
Glenna Hazeltine, Esquire Suite 700
One West Broad Street Bethlehem, PA 18018

Date Record Closed: May 18, 2015

Date of Decision: June 15, 2015

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The student (hereafter Student)1 is a late elementary school-aged student in the Lakeland School District (District) who is a protected handicapped child. Student’s Parents filed a due process complaint against the District asserting that it denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,2 as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.3

The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over three sessions, at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. The Parents sought to establish that the District failed to identify Student in a timely manner as a protected handicapped child or a child with a disability, and further failed to provide Student with FAPE. They sought compensatory education as a remedy. The District maintained that it did not fail to timely identify Student and that the educational program it provided was appropriate for Student.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the District on the FAPE claims, but will order the team to reconvene and revise the Section 504 Plan.

ISSUES

  1. Whether the District timely identified Student as a protected handicapped child under Section 504 and Chapter 15;
  2. Whether the District provided an appropriate educational program to Student under Section 504 and Chapter 15 from September 2011 to the present;
  3. If the District did not timely identify and/or program appropriately for Student, is Student entitled to compensatory education,4 and if so, in what form and amount?
T-M-Lakeland-ODRNo-15467-14-15KE

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