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STUDENT v. HANFORD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT

CASE NO. 2022050318

STUDENT v. HANFORD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT

Counsel for Student: Mother

Counsel for School District: Deborah Ettinger

Representative for School: Karen McConnell

ALJ: June Lehrman

Date of Decision: August 17, 2022

ISSUES:

  • Was the IEP offer made by school FAPE? May School implement student’s IEP without parent’s consent?

FACTS OF THE CASE:

  • The student was very easily distracted, off task, vocalizing, mouthing objects, fidgeting and not focused. She Student required redirections to remain on task when completing her independent assignments and when working in a small group with her teacher in the special day class.
  • The school did not offer aide support to student despite parents’ request and communication of their concerns.
  • The only program accommodations and supports offered were (1) graphic organizers or other outlines to organize thoughts for writing assignments, (2) tests to be given in paper/pencil form rather than on a laptop, and (3), daily during reading instruction, re-phrasing/follow up reading comprehension questions to determine understanding.
  • The Assistant Superintendent of Special Services had a heated argument with student’s Regional Center advocate wherein former misbehaved with latter and called her “hindrance to the IEP process”.

CONCLUSION:-

  • The offer made by School WAS NOT FAPE and school MAY NOT implement student’s IEP without parent’s consent.

Rationale:-

– Regional Center advocate’s recollection of incidents around the call and details discussed on call were more chronologically correct as compared to Assistant Superintendent of Special Services.

– Assistant Superintendent of Special Services called the family’s advocate at her workplace and attempted to discourage her from expressing the family’s viewpoint. This behavior violated the IDEA by interfering with Parents’ ability to express their opinions and participate meaningfully at the IEP team meeting.

– The development of the IEP by school did not meet the procedural requirements, and therefore does not provide Student a FAPE.

– School failed to prove that non-academic or socialization aspects of additional mainstreaming would overcome the inference that, without appropriate supports, student might not succeed in additional general education mainstreaming.

– Family presented video of student attempting to complete homework which showed her very distracted, off task, vocalizing, mouthing objects, fidgeting and not focused. Three of the relatives having experience in general education also testified that student had unique needs.

– An IEP must contain a clear written, enforceable offer. However, the student’s IEP failed to identify accommodations and supports that Student needed to access her educational program.

– The goals identified in IEP meetings were also not clear to responsible persons as IEP is silent about how those goals will be achieved.

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