Counsel for Student: None
Counsel for School: Deborah Cesario and Shannyn Shafer
Representative for School: Meggan Lokken
ALJ: Cynthia Fritz
Date of Decision: January 10, 2023
Significant areas of law: School must prove a specific facility is appropriate for Student even if it is established that Student’s current placement is substantially likely to cause injury to Student and others.
- Does Student’s current placement is substantially likely to cause injury to Student and others and does School’s proposed placement in a residential treatment center is an appropriate 45-day interim alternative educational setting.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
- Student was 13 years old and was eligible for special education under the primary category of autism and the secondary category of intellectual disability. Student was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Student’s current placement is substantially likely to cause injury to Student and others. However, School’s proposed placement in a residential treatment center IS NOT an appropriate 45-day interim alternative educational setting.
– Student’s behavior has resulted in multiple attempts to commit suicide while on campus, sexual assaults on staff and students, multiple attempted sexual assaults, and repeated threats of harm to himself and others.
– School attempted to conduct a risk assessment but Student refused to participate. School also drafted a safety protocol plan and behavior tracking plan. School offered wraparound services to student which parents refused to accept.
– School provided additional supports and services to Student to address his issues. However, his behaviors escalated to attempted self-injurious behavior.
– School conducted an IEP to discuss student’s significant escalation in dangerous self-injurious behavior, provided behavior emergency report, offered additional services as well as assessments. Parents agreed to assessments but did not gave consent to offer of FAPE.
– School’s staff and witnesses were credible given the congruent documentary and witness testimony. The staff was well-informed and displayed familiarity with Student and his history. They were thorough and detailed in their accounts of Student’s behaviors and expressed sincere beliefs of their concerns related to Student’s sexually explicit verbalizations, sexual gesturing, exposing himself, suicidal ideations, suicidal actions, and sexualized touching of both staff and students.
– School failed to present any specific evidence from NPSs as to why these treatment facilities could not service and support Student’s increased mental health needs.
– School failed to present any evidence about any specific placement possibility, including any documentary or testimonial evidence about any residential programs and its ability to meet Student’s needs.
– School failed to prove that an unspecified residential treatment center with particular criteria is an appropriate interim alternative educational setting.