TR vs. School District Upper Darby

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 15455-1415AS

Child’s Name: T.R.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 1/7/15, 1/28/15, 2/2/15, 2/11/15

OPEN HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District
Upper Darby
4611 Bond Avenue Drexel Hill, PA 19063

Representative:

Parent Attorney None

School District Attorney Scott Gottel, Esquire Holsten & Associates One Olive Street

Media, PA 19063

Date Record Closed: March 6, 2015

Date of Decision: March 23, 2015

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student resides with Parent in the School District’s geographic boundaries, but has been enrolled in a cyber charter school since the beginning of the 2013/2014 school year. Student previously attended a District elementary school, with a Chapter 15/§504 Service Plan to address symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from 2nd grade through the middle of 4th grade. During the fall of 4th grade, the District evaluated Student at Parent’s request, concluded that Student is IDEA eligible, and developed an IEP to replace the Service Agreement. After the IEP was completed, Parent became increasingly unhappy with the District’s response to her concerns about Student’s behaviors and academic progress in math and writing. After the fifth of nine IEP meetings held between January and June 2013, Parent requested an independent educational evaluation (IEE) that the District ultimately agreed to fund.

A year after Student left the District to enroll in the cyber charter school, Parent filed a due process complaint alleging several IDEA and §504 violations that she alleged resulted in a denial of FAPE from 2nd grade through the time the charter school developed a new IEP for Student. After receiving the results of the IEE, which Parent did not obtain until the summer after Student’s first year in the charter school, Parent requested and was granted leave to amend the complaint to add a claim for current and prospective remedial relief in addition to the compensatory education requested in the original complaint.

The due process hearing was held in four sessions from early January to mid-February 2015. After submission of written closing arguments by both parties on the agreed date, this matter is ready for a final decision. For the reasons explained below, as well as in rulings issued during the due process hearing, Parent’s claims are denied.

ISSUES

Did the School District fail to provide a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to Student based upon:

  1. The District’s failure to timely evaluate Student for IDEA eligibility, resulting in a violation of the District’s “child-find” obligation, and/or
  2. The District’s failure to develop and implement appropriate §504 Service Plans and IEPs for Student; and/or
  3. The District’s denial of full participation by Parent in the IEP process and in selecting a program and placement for Student?

Should Parent be permitted to seek relief beginning with the 2010/2011 school year, or are Parent’s claims limited to the 2012/2013 school year and forward?

Is Student entitled to compensatory education for a denial of FAPE by the District, and if so, for what period, in what form and in what amount?

Should the District be required to fund a private placement for Student at a school selected unilaterally by Parent from the present school year until Student’s high school graduation as an appropriate additional or alternative equitable remedy for the District’s alleged denial of FAPE during the time Student was enrolled in a District placement?

T-R-Upper-Darby-ODRNo-15455-1415AS

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