Reading Public Schools BSEA #02-3197



<br /> Reading Public Schools BSEA #02-3197<br />

In re: Reading Public Schools

BSEA #02-3197

RULING ON PARENT’S MOTION TO JOIN THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL RETARDATION

This case is about the educational needs of a student who is an eleven year old who is diagnosed with childhood-onset Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder and multiple anxiety disorders. He was attending the SEEM Collaborative. Due to his psychiatric and behavioral problems, he was hospitalized.

On March 15, 2002, the Parent in this case filed with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals an appeal of Reading Public School’s SEEM Collaborative IEP. Parent did not state the requested relief, but rather, referred to several letters from his psychiatrist and advocate. On March 21, 2002, Parent filed a Motion to Join the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation (hereafter, DMR), asserting that DMR has a joint financial responsibility to provide Student with a residential placement/services.

On April 1, 2002, DMR filed its opposition to the joinder motion. DMR acknowledged that Student was found eligible for family support services that were prioritized in the second category for family support and third category for service coordination. DMR has provided the services, and DMR asserts that according to its guidelines, there is no more to offer, for “the residential services and educational programs are not supports DMR provides to children as the school department is mandated to provide such supports”. DMR asserts that Parent has sought its joinder for the purpose of obtaining DMR services, not in addition to the IEP services , but rather, that necessary as part of the IEP. Such is the responsibility of the public school, and the Hearing Officer has no authority to order DMR to provide such.

RULING

Joinder of DMR is called for where complete relief cannot be granted by Reading, or DMR has an interest relating to the case and is so situated that the case cannot be disposed of in its absence.1 That is, it is called for when the Hearing Officer may deem that DMR should provide services in addition to2 the program and related services to be provided by Reading, in order that Student receive a free and appropriate public education.

Parent has failed to provide any information that would support a finding that DMR’s joinder is necessary for complete relief in this case. That Student may require a residential educational program is not in itself sufficient reason. Absent a showing that DMR services in addition to the appropriate education program are necessary in order to receive FAPE, Parent’s Motion to Join DMR must be DENIED.

A pre-hearing to address Parent’s appeal of Reading’s IEP is set for May 17, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. at the Bureau of Special Education Appeals in Malden, Massachusetts. DMR is welcome to participate in this pre-hearing.

By the Hearing Officer,

_____________________________

Sandra W. Sherwood

Date: May 3, 2002


1

BSEA Hearing Rule 1F


2

See M.G.L. c 71B §3, as amended by Chapter 159, §162 of the Acts of 2000 and 603 C.M.R. 28.08(3).

It states : A BSEA Hearing Officer may determine, in accordance with the rules regulations and policies of the respective agencies that services shall be provided by … the Department of Mental Retardation, … in addition to the program and related services to be provided by the school committee.


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