Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: Z.B.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing:
October 1, 2012
October 8, 2012 October 29, 2012
ODR Case # 3098-1112KE
Parties to the Hearing: Parents
Penn Hills School District 260 Aster Street Pittsburgh, PA 15235
Pamela Berger, Esq. 434 Grace Street Pittsburgh, PA 15211
Craig Alexander, Esq. Law Offices of Bruce Dice
& Associates 787 Pine Valley Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
Date Record Closed: November 16, 2012
Date of Decision: November 27, 2012
Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
[The student] (hereinafter “student”)1 is a [pre-teenaged] student who resides in the Penn Hills School District (“District”). The parties dispute whether the student should have been identified by the District as a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”) and Pennsylvania special education regulations (“Chapter 14”),2 as well as whether the District had analogous obligations to the student under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (specifically under Section 504 of that statute, hence the follow-on reference to “Section 504”) and Pennsylvania education regulations which implement Section 504 (“Chapter 15”).3 Particularly, the dispute centers on whether the District should have identified the student as a student with a disability given the student’s in-school behaviors in the 2011-2012 school year as well as instances of peer-bullying. As a result of these claims, parents claim the student was denied a free appropriate public education “(“FAPE”) and seek remedies of compensatory education and reimbursement for an independent education evaluation (“IEE”).
The District counters that, based on the information it had in the 2011-2012 school year, the student did not qualify as a student with a disability under the terms of the IDEIA. To the extent that the student qualified as a student with a disability under Section 504/Chapter 15, the District argues that those needs were met with an appropriate Section 504 plan. For those reasons, the District claims that at all times it provided the student with FAPE and, therefore, no remedy is owed.
For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of parents on the issues of failure to identify the student and reimbursement for the IEE but in favor of the District on the issue of compensatory education.
Should the student have been identified
as a student with a disability under the IDEIA in the 2011-2012 school year?
did the District deny FAPE to the student as a result?
Did the District fail to meet its obligations to the student under Section 504?
If the response to any of these questions is in the affirmative, is the student owed compensatory education?
Are parents entitled to reimbursement for the IEE?Z-B-Penn-Hills-ODRNo-3098-1112KE