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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SRO Bentley slams NYC in residential placement case

SRO 08-103: This is a rather extraordinary case. Parent sought a residential placement for their 17 year old son; specifically, they sought placement at the Judge Rotenberg Center. The hearing officer ordered the district to place residentially, but found that JRC was not appropriate. SRO Robert Bentley disagreed stating that
In view of the district's actions in this case as presented in the hearing record as well as the district's unresponsiveness on appeal regarding the provision of educational services to the student in the form of a residential placement, I find that, under the unique facts of this case, there is no justification for allowing the district the flexibility typically accorded to administrative decision making in implementing the student's placement, and therefore, I will examine whether it is appropriate to resort to the extraordinary measure of intervening in the implementation of the student's special education services by ordering the district to provide the
student with a residential placement specifically at JRC.

Bentley further stated that

As a general principle, direct intervention in the administrative aspects of implementation of a student's IEP through the impartial hearing process is a highly inefficient manner of delivering special education services and should be avoided where possible; however, in extreme cases there may be little recourse if there has been a breakdown in a district's administrative process and where, as here, it is demonstrable that the deprivation of special education services is likely to continue as a result.

Bentley then held that the record supported the parent view that JRC was appropriate for the child. He ordered the district to place the child at JRC if they could not place him at an appropriate in- state residential placement within 30 days.

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