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J.N. v. South Western School District

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 24, 2014

J.N. and J.N., in their Own Right and as Parents and Natural Guardians of J.N., a Minor, Plaintiffs
v.
SOUTH WESTERN SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For J.N., In their Own Right as Parents, J.N., Natural Guardians of J.N., a Minor, Plaintiffs: Mark W. Voigt, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office of Mark W. Voigt, Plymouth Meeting, PA.

For South Western School District, Defendant: Brooke E.D. Say, Leigh E Dalton, Stock and Leader, York, PA.

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MEMORANDUM

Christopher C. Conner, Chief United States District Judge.

Plaintiffs J.N. and J.N. (" the parents" ), on their own behalf and as parents and natural guardians of J.N. (" J.N." ), filed the above-captioned action, alleging violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (" IDEA" ), as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq., and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 794. Plaintiffs seek reimbursement for tuition and related expenses, reimbursement for expert testimony, compensatory education, and costs and fees. Presently before the court is a motion (Doc. 10) to supplement the administrative record. For the reasons that follow, the court will deny the motion.

I. Factual Background and Procedural History

J.N. is a fourteen-year-old special needs student who resides in the South Western School District (" the District" ). (Doc. 1 ¶ ¶ 1, 5). J.N. attended homeschool from kindergarten through fifth grade. (Id. ¶ ¶ 6, 24). In February 2011, the Penn State Hershey Psychiatric Institute evaluated J.N. and diagnosed him with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dysgraphia, and specific learning disabilities in reading, mathematics, and written expression. (Id. ¶ 7). In an Independent Educational Evaluation (" IEE" ) of J.N. in July 2012, Dr. Margaret Kay (" Dr. Kay" ) confirmed these learning disabilities and recommended, inter alia, that J.N. receive instruction using " Wilson" reading programs to improve his reading skills. (Id. ¶ ¶ 15-16). With respect to placement, Dr. Kay stated that J.N. requires a " small, structured school setting" designed to assist students with nonverbal or right-hemispheric learning disorders, such as The Janus School (" Janus" ). (Id. ¶ 17).

J.N. attended sixth grade at an intermediate school in the District during the 2012-2013 academic year.[1] In August 2012, J.N.'s parents and the District attended an Individualized Education Program (" IEP" )[2] meeting at which the District offered J.N. reading instruction using the " System 44" program rather than the Wilson program. (Id. ¶ 25). At that time, J.N.'s reading skills were between the third- and fourth-grade level. (Id. ¶ 26). The parties strenuously dispute the extent to which J.N. made meaningful progress in reading and other subjects during the 2012-2013 academic year. In May 2013, Dr. Kay conducted another IEE of J.N. and noted that J.N.'s standard scores and growth scale values (" GSVs" ) decreased in reading comprehension and related areas

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over the course of the prior school year. (Id. ¶ ¶ 40-41). Dr. Kay reiterated her recommendation that J.N. receive instruction using the Wilson reading program, (id. ¶ 43), and concluded that the District had not provided J.N. an appropriate education with respect to literacy skills, (Doc. 9-13, Ex. P-27 at 15).

The parties reconvened for an IEP meeting on July 8, 2013. The District offered J.N. reading instruction using the " Read 180" program for the 2013-2014 academic year. (Doc. 13 ¶ 63). J.N.'s parents objected to this program and requested that the District place J.N. at Janus at its expense. (Doc. 1 ¶ 55). They subsequently filed a due process complaint with the Pennsylvania Office for Dispute Resolution (" ODR" ), which they amended on July 15, 2013. (Id. ¶ 57). The District drafted a revised IEP on July 18, 2013 in which it proposed sixty minutes of Wilson instruction per day in connection with Read 180. (See Doc. 13 ¶ 67). J.N.'s parents again requested that the District place ...


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