Pleasant Valley School District sues family, seeks reversal of ruling

By Carol Ostrow | Oct 12, 2015

A Brodheadsville school district is suing a minor student and his parents in a dispute over the student's educational benefits.

Pleasant Valley School District filed an appeal in a case against “TH” and his parents and legal guardians “RK” and “THK” in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania on Sept. 17, seeking to overturn a recent State Special Education ruling regarding the education of TH in two discrete time periods in the 2012-2013 school year.

According to the complaint, the student received Section 504/Individuals with Disabilities Education Act services from first grade on, with diagnoses of ADHD, PDD/NOS (an autism spectrum condition), and secondarily, emotional disturbance. The suit states that his parents filed a complaint on or about Jan. 2 challenging the plaintiff’s identification of the child, alleging that the district failed to provide a free, appropriate public education and asking for compensatory education and attorneys’ fees.

The district alleges that the child was enrolled in the school system “only intermittently” between Jan. 2, 2013, through June 6, 2013; that he was placed on home teaching by his physician for the period of Dec. 17, 2012, to March 21, 2013, based on a diagnosis of Marfan’s Syndrome; and that the district provided home instruction for five hours weekly.

The lawsuit states that the parents enrolled TH at Commonwealth Connections Academy, a cyber charter school, between March 22, 2013, and April 29, 2013; after which the parents enrolled TH in the plaintiff’s Cyber Academy from April 30 through June 6, 2013.

The district asserts that TH was absent from full-time instruction for 114 school days in the 2012-2013 school year; and that it complied with all decisions pursuant to the child’s education. The plaintiff challenges the State Special Education Hearing Officer Anne Carroll’s June 18 decision to enforce full-day compensatory schooling, claiming the child was only capable of sustaining five hours weekly; that it was the parents’ decision to change his enrollment status; and that they did so against the district’s recommendation.

The plaintiff seeks the court’s ruling to reverse and overturn the initial decision made in the parents’ favor. The district is represented by Glenna Hazeltine of King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul in Bethlehem.

U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania 3:15-cv-01810-MEM

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