worsened after the holidays, which coincided with his return to Dr. Cohen for therapy. The third BMP was implemented in mid to late January, 1989.
41. Dr. Braggins evaluated Leonard at the end of the 1988-89 school year. Leonard's behavior in both schools was found to be similar. The difference was in the intensity of his oppositional behavior. In the EMR class at Ben Fairless School, he refused to do his work with a greater intensity. In the SED/MR class at Eastern Area School, he could be redirected to task easily. At Eastern Area School, he had two or three friends who greeted him when he arrived at school and with whom he interacted. Dr. Braggins did not see the same type of relationships in the EMR class at Ben Fairless School. Moreover, he never initiated conversations with other students in an appropriate way in the EMR class. The students in the EMR class at Ben Fairless School tended to see Leonard as different from themselves. Although they attempted to ignore his behavior, he still caused a disruption in the classroom.
42. After her evaluation at the end of the 1988-89 school year, Dr. Braggins concluded that Leonard continued to fit into the SED/MR classification; that he had made progress in the SED/MR class at Eastern Area School; and that he was not ready for placement outside of Eastern Area School. She also stated that the personnel at Ben Fairless School worked hard to make Leonard's partial integration a success and that Dr. Barack, apparently, had been misinformed about the preparation undertaken for Leonard's partial integration. Dr. Braggins stated that the time she spent on Leonard's placement was disproportional to the time spent on any other exceptional child during the past school year.
43. An EMR class and a SED/MR class are two very different programs. An EMR class is designed to fulfill the academic needs of cognitively limited children. There are two levels of EMR classes at Ben Fairless School. Leonard was placed in the lower level class. This class is comprised of children with IQ's in the 50-80 range. The focus of this EMR class is on academics and involves much repetition. The SED/MR class at Eastern Area School is much more structured than the EMR class at Ben Fairless School because the emotional problems of these children can interfere with intellectual functioning and academic progress. While the SED/MR class has a similar academic focus, the primary component is social and emotional development. At times, academics can come second to behavior control. The SED/MR class has the added advantage of sensitivity to the particular problems of SED children.
44. Leonard has made little, if any, academic progress in the EMR class at Ben Fairless School. He has had difficulty completing academic assignments, even when working on a one-on-one basis with his teacher. Further, Leonard has not interacted socially with the other students in the EMR class at Ben Fairless School. In fact, at the year end, his EMR classmates were less compatible with him than they had been earlier in the year.
45. The MDT, comprised of Dr. Braggins, the school psychologist, Ms. Haluska, Leonard's teacher, and other educational professionals familiar with Leonard, has met weekly with few exceptions, since October 17, 1988, to monitor Leonard's progress. In its report dated January 23, 1989, the MDT recommended that it was in Leonard's best interest, academically, that he be returned on a full-time basis to the more structured SED/MR program at Eastern Area School. The team noted that, while Leonard continued to respond productively at Eastern Area School, he has demonstrated academic regression in the EMR class at Ben Fairless School by failing to meet the minimum requirements of the program and by refusing to participate in certain academic activities. The MDT continues to recommend that Leonard be placed on a full-time basis in the SED/MR program at Eastern Area School. In support of this recommendation, the MDT noted that over the course of the last school year Leonard made little improvement, if any, in the area of attention, independent work skills and social relations, both in the EMR and mainstream classes.
Conclusions of Law
46. The purpose of the EHA is set forth in Section 1400(c) which provides:
It is the purpose of this chapter to assure that all handicapped children have available to them, within the time periods specified in section 1412(2)(B) of this title, a free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs, to assure that the rights of handicapped children and their parents or guardians are protected, to assist States and localities to provide for the education of all handicapped children, and to assess and assure the effectiveness of efforts to educate handicapped children.
20 U.S.C. § 1400(c).
In the present case, it is undisputed that Leonard is entitled to a free appropriate public education. However, the parties strenuously disagree as to the appropriate educational placement of Leonard under the mainstreaming requirements of the EHA and Pennsylvania state law.
47. With respect to a State's eligibility to qualify for financial assistance under the EHA, Section 1412 states:
§ 1412 Eligibility requirements