BG 18E-1001436

HUNTERDON COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Parents are seeking legal assistance in filing for due process or representation through a plenary hearing if necessary.

EG, age 16, is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation, Encephalopathy-unspecified and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), in addition to sensory dysfunction and visual tracking challenges. Despite the aforementioned diagnoses and his disruptive behavior in public school and two hospitalizations, he had never been referred to a Child Study Team. Following his hospitalization, his parents enrolled him in a residential placement out of state, where he stayed from May 2017 until September 2017. In early September 2017, EG’s parents enrolled him back in District and requested that he be referred to the Child Study Team. In October 2017, EG’s parents submitted a 10-day notice to the District informing the District that they would be enrolling EG in a therapeutic residential school, which he had previously attended, with expertise in 14-18 year-old boys on the autism spectrum, and parents again requested that EG be referred to the Child Study Team for special education and related services. The initial response from the District was voicemails received by parents regarding withdrawal from the district form to be completed by parents and a phone call from the school Principal inquiring about the length of EG’s stay at the therapeutic residential school. In February 2018, parent retained counsel who requested that an IEP meeting be scheduled as soon as possible. In April 2018, an Initial Identification/Evaluation Planning Meeting was held and parents consented to in-District evaluations. Parents also submitted to the District EG’s neurodevelopmental evaluation and EG’s school records from the residential placement. The psychoeducational report confirmed EG’s social and emotional challenges, finding clinically significant and at risk ratings for several categories, such as behaviors that are impulsive, disruptive and uncontrolled. In June 2018, District notified the parents that EG would be considered a 9th grader on July 1st at a Regional High School and the matter needed to be transferred to that District. A determination meeting with the Regional High School was held in July 2019. Shockingly, the District did not find EG eligible for special education and related services. The District asserted that EG could be served in district in general education. EG continues to be enrolled in a therapeutic placement, but his parents have depleted all of their resources. Parents are seeking legal assistance in filing for due process or representation through a plenary hearing if necessary.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org