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STUDENT v. SAN BERNARDINO CITY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

CASE NO. 2022030985

Student v. SAN BERNARDINO CITY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Counsel for Student: Libbie Chase

Counsel for School District: Karen Gilyard, and Carlos Gonzalez

Representative for San Bernardino City: Dr. Howanna Lundy

ALJ: Deborah Myers-Cregar

Date of Decision: September 09, 2022

ISSUES:

  • Did the school fail to provide FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) to student by delaying required assessments?
  • Did school fail to provide IEP to student by failing to design program that meets student’s unique needs in the areas of social-emotional goals, math goals and reading goals?
  • Did the school deny student FAPE by affecting parent’s ability to participate in decision making by failing to produce required education records and the failure to assess student’s emotional progress?

FACTS OF THE CASE:

  • Student has previous history of psychological health issues and did not have sufficient access to technology required for online classes.
  • San Bernardino City did not have sufficient record of student’s special needs at the time of transfer and took appropriate steps to collect the record to be discussed in IEP meeting within 30 days of student’s transfer.
  • As per notes of IEP meeting, previous assessments of student were outdated and psychoeducational re-assessment was required.
  • Parents also communicated their concerns regarding Wi-Fi connectivity issues at their home as well as student’s mental health.
  • The special education teacher also failed to understand previous school’s FAPE offer and did not make much effort to resolve the issue.
  • School failed to provide the student an assessment plan for psychoeducation at or after her triennial IEP team meeting despite having sufficient information which asked for detailed assessment.
  • The school’s health assessment test was timely, appropriate and conducted by a registered school nurse.
  • Student did not require any assistive technology as she was provided with Chromebook or Wi-Fi hotspot by school.
  • Student was neither introduced to school counselor nor to school psychologist and there was no update on her emotional health.
  • Student failed to establish that parents submitted any written request for access to her academic records.

CONCLUSION:-

  • School denied FAPE to student by failing in appropriate assessment of Psychoeducation, mental health services and health issues.

Rationale: School had sufficient information of previous history of sexual abuse and self harm of the student gathered as under:-

– Relevant record was shared by previous school which mentioned that she had to remain in foster care for some time and had faced trauma of sexual abuse and used self-harm as her coping mechanism

– Her case manager knew that she was well below grade level in all academic areas and she failed half of her classes during freshman year and that her performance didn’t improve much over time.

– The school knew her previous assessments were outdated and reassessment was required.

– The school also had information that student frequently remained absent in virtual classes due to mental health issues.

-her special education teacher didn’t understand FAPE offered by previous school and didn’t make any effort to get more information in this regard while her general education teacher couldn’t recommend the proper placement for the student.

-She was also remaining absent from online classes and communicated here concerns in IEP meetings and school was not justified to consider self-harm as normal thing not requiring immediate attention. Hence, school was bound to conduct appropriate assessment in this regard.

  • School did not deny FAPE to student by failing in appropriate assessment of assistive technology.

Rationale: School provided ChromeBook or Wi-Fi hotspot to student considering her homeless shelter situation and just because student demanded a calculator does not mean that she needs assistive technology. Further student had contact information of the department whom she could reach in case of any trouble.

  • School denied FAPE to student by failing to design appropriate programs relating to social-emotional goals, math goals and reading goals.
  • Rationale: The student’s most recent scores were sufficient evidence that her educational performance is affected by social-emotional goals, her parents also communicated this concern in IEP meetings and her performance improved after on-campus classes. She also admitted in IEP meetings that Maths is an area where she lacks. Neither she was provided with immediate access to her counselers nor the provided schedule met the needs of the student.
  • School did not deny FAPE to student by impeding parent’s ability to participate in decision making by failing to produce educational records.

Rationale: The school is required to share educational record with parents on their demand. However, there is no evidence on record which shows that parents submitted any written request before school authorities. Hence, school cannot be held accountable in this regard.

REMEDIES/ORDER:-

  • – Student is entitled to equitable remedies in shape of compensatory education. The licensed and qualified assessors shall be chosen by the student and will not exceed the rate specified by SELPA.
  • – The school shall develop appropriate goals for student in the areas of social-emotional skills, maths and reading. The educational therapies shall also be provided to the student at an hourly rate established by SELPA.

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