WH vs. Peters Township School District

Pennsylvania Special Education Hearing Officer

Final Decision and Order

CLOSED HEARING

ODR File Number: 18412 16 17

Child’s Name: W. H.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing:
02/24/17, 06/08/17, 06/14/17, 07/18/17, 07/19/17, 07/20/17

Parent:

[redacted]

Counsel for Parent
Michelle Kline, Esquire, Brandi Kelly Suter, Esquire, Ruder Law, 429 Forbes Avenue, Suite 450,
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Local Education Agency:

Peters Township School District, 631 East McMurray Road, McMurray, PA 15317-3430

Counsel for the LEA

Rebecca Heaton Hall, Esquire, Weiss Burkardt Kramer, LLC, 445 Fort Pitt Boulevard, Suite 503, Pittsburgh, Pa 15219

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

Date of Decision: 09/18/17

INTRODUCTION

The child named in this matter (Student)1 is a resident of the District named in this matter (District), and is enrolled currently in a private school. The District has classified Student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA) as a child with the disability of Speech or Language Impairment. Parents assert that the District failed to offer Student a free appropriate public education (FAPE) pursuant to the IDEA; section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504); and the respective implementing regulations. Parents withdrew Student from the District unilaterally on July 8, 2015, and placed Student in a private school. (S 27; NT 183.)

Parents’ complaint in this matter alleged that the District denied Student a FAPE by refusing to identify Student with the disabilities of Specific Learning Disability in reading comprehension and Other Health Impairment due to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety disorder. Parents’ complaint also asserted that the District failed to address Student’s educational needs arising from these disabilities by offering appropriate IEPs2. Parents requested compensatory education for the period from March 24, 2011 until they withdrew Student from the District on July 8, 2015. The District asserts that it has offered a FAPE at all relevant times, and it seeks dismissal of all claims.

The hearing was completed in six sessions the first of which was limited to evidence relevant to the District’s motion to limit claims to a period two years prior to the filing date pursuant to the IDEA statute of limitations, discussed below. I have determined the credibility of all witnesses and I have considered and weighed all of the evidence of record. I conclude that the District has offered a FAPE to Student at all relevant times, and I therefore dismiss Parents’ claims.

ISSUES

  1. Did the District fail to comply with its Child Find obligations during the relevant period from November 1, 2014 to July 8, 2015, in violation of the IDEA and section 504, by failing to recognize and identify all of Student’s educational needs?
  2. Did the District offer a FAPE to Student during the relevant period, in compliance with the IDEA and section 504?
  3. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide Student with compensatory education on account of all or any part of the relevant period?
W-H-Peters-Township-ODRNo-18412-16-17

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