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In Re:   Student v. Medway Public Schools BSEA # 24-10703 


Division of Administrative Law Appeals

Bureau of Special Education Appeals

In Re:   Student v. Medway Public Schools                                                                                   

BSEA # 24-10703         

Ruling on Medway Public Schools’ Motion to Dismiss

& Summary Judgment Ruling

On April 2, 2024, Student/ Parent in the above-referenced matter filed a Hearing Request with the BSEA.  Student’s/ Parent’s Hearing Request provided no description of the issues, contained no exhibits, or other explanations; it only briefly stated the proposed resolution of the hearing.  

On April 22, 2024, Medway Public Schools (Medway or District) filed a Motion to Dismiss (Motion). 

Via Order issued on May 13, 2024, Parent was granted an extension of time to file a Response/ Opposition to the District’s Motion through May 20, 2024.  Parent did not file a response or opposition by the deadline or at any time thereafter.

Via Order issued on May 29, 2024, this Hearing Officer notified the Parties that the District’s Motion to Dismiss, would be construed sua sponte as a Motion for Summary Judgment, given that in addition to the pleadings, exhibits were submitted for consideration by the District as part of its Motion to Dismiss.  The May 29, 2024 Order provided the Parties an opportunity to submit any additional documents or arguments they so desired by the close of business on Friday May 31, 2024.  No further submissions were received from either Party by the established deadline, nor was an extension of time to file same requested by either Party.

This Ruling is issued in consideration of Parent’s/ Student’s Hearing Request and the District’s Motion to Dismiss and accompanying documents, SE-A through SE-F.


  1.  Student is a twenty-four year old resident of Medway, who received special education and related services until September 18, 2021, his twenty second birthday. 
  2. On June 9, 2021, the Parties participated in a mediation resulting in a Mediation Agreement (Agreement I) to fund job training for Student through HMEA or a similar agency as compensatory education for COVID-19 related missed services.  The Agreement provided Student with job training three hours per day, five days per week, for twenty-six consecutive weeks starting on September 18, 2021. (SE-A)
  3. Agreement I further stated that it was Medway’s

    …full and final offer of services from the district, in response to parent concerns, and the District will not support any other vocational, academic or related services beyond [ Student’s] 22nd birthday. (SE-A)
  4. Consistent with Agreement I, Medway contracted with HMEA to begin services in September of 2021. (SE-C)
  5. Student did not access any of the job training sessions offered during the twenty-six week prescribed timeframe, or at any other time during the 2021-2022 school year.
  6. On June 17, 2022, a year after the Parties’ executed Agreement I, Medway received a physician’s note explaining that Student had not been able to participate in the job training offered through HMEA because of medical issues, including ulcerative colitis, and that due to his then current medical status, he could not yet begin job training.  Medway received a second physician’s note on September 11, 2022, which further stated that Student would require close access to a bathroom while attending the job training. (SE-C).
  7. The Parties participated in another Mediation on December 22, 2022, and entered into a second Mediation Agreement (Agreement II), in which Medway agreed to

    …make every effort to locate an appropriate training position for start date to commence after the December 2022 school break … no services would be delivered or owed beyond June 15, 2023. (SE-D)
  8. At the time Agreement II came into effect, Student was twenty-three years old and receiving services through the Department of Developmental Services.  Per Agreement II, Parent agreed to contact adult services to determine if they could assist with transportation to and from the job site. (SE-D)
  9. Between December of 2022 and August of 2023, Medway contacted no less than seven agencies and programs attempting to secure a job training position for Student consistent with the terms of Agreement II.  Due to staffing shortages, Student’s age and other factors, Medway could not secure a position for Student and notified Student and Parent of the situation via correspondence dated August 10, 2023. (SE-E)
  10. Medway’s August 10, 2023, correspondence to Parent/ Student explained that despite Medway’s best efforts and good faith, it had not been able to secure a job training position for Student.  In this communication, Medway further informed Parent that if she were able to identify or arrange for a job training position for Student during the 2023-2024 school year, Medway would reimburse Parent up to $8,000.00, an amount consistent with what Medway would have likely paid a provider had the District been able to secure one. (SE-F)
  11. Medway’s August 10, 2023, correspondence further stated that since Student would turn twenty-four years old in September of 2023 and was receiving adult services from DDS,

    At the conclusion of the 2023-2024 school year (June 30, 2024), regardless of whether [Student] has received the job training/ coaching services set forth [Agreement II], it is Medway’s position that its obligation to provide [Student] with education, special education and related services and/ or transition services is satisfied and that he is entitled to no further services from Medway. (SE-F).

    Medway reasoned that extending the District’s obligation beyond that time was counterproductive and would negatively impact Student’s ability to make a full transition to his post-secondary life. (SE-F)
  12. On April 2, 2024, the BSEA received Parent’s/ Student’s Hearing Request seeking “COVID compensatory hours and job coaching and hours the district owes” Student.  Following issuance of a Recalculated Notice of Hearing on April 11, 2024, issued as a result of Parent/Student failing to send the Hearing Request to the District, the Hearing was scheduled to proceed on May 15, 2024.
  13. On April 22, 2024, the District filed the instant Motion to Dismiss, in essence arguing that the remedy sought by Student had been addressed through mediation agreements, the review of which fell outside the jurisdiction of the BSEA.
  14. On April 29, 2024, the District re-sent Parent a copy of the Motion to Dismiss and on May 1, 2024, Parent sought and was provided clarification on what she needed to do if she desired to oppose the District’s Motion.
  15. On May 3, 2024, Parent emailed the Hearing Officer requesting a postponement of a conference call scheduled for May 3, 2024 on the basis that,

    Something [sic] emergency has happened and I need to take care of that.  I will let you know very soon when [it] is [a] good time for me to attend.  Please you and Ms. Caitlin let me know as well.

    The same date the Hearing Officer sought Parent’s and the District’s availability for the conference call, but Parent did not communicate with the BSEA again.
  16. On May 8, 2024, the District filed a request for postponement of the Hearing which request was granted via Order issued on May 13, 2024.
  17. The May 13, 2024, Order established the following timelines:
    a) The deadline for Parent’s response/ opposition to the District’s Motion to Dismiss was set for Monday May 20, 2024.[2]
    b) Exhibits and witness lists are due by the close of business on June 6, 2024.
    c) A Hearing will be held on June 13, 2024, at 10:00 a.m., remotely via Zoom.
  18. Parent/ Student neither submitted a response by any of the deadlines established, nor did Student at any time thereafter prior to issuance of this Ruling, request an additional extension of time for filing an opposition.


  1. Motion To Dismiss:

Rule XVII (A) and (B) of the BSEA Hearing Rules for Special Education Appeals and the Standard Rules of Adjudicatory Practice and Procedure[3], at 801 CMR 1.01(7)(g)(3), authorize BSEA hearing officers to consider and allow a motion to dismiss when the party requesting the hearing (Student/ Parent in the case at bar) fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.  These rules are analogous to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 12(b)(6) of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure.  The standards used by courts are generally the same as those used by BSEA hearing officers when deciding motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

To survive a motion to dismiss, there must exist “factual ‘allegations plausibly suggesting (not merely consistent with)’ an entitlement to relief.”[4]  In evaluating a motion to dismiss, the hearing officer must take as true “the allegations of the complaint, as well as such inferences as may be drawn therefrom in the plaintiff’s favor.”[5]  If the pleadings so viewed fail to support a plausible claim for relief, the case may be dismissed.[6]  Accepting as true the allegations of the complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.[7]  To survive dismissal, the “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.”[8]

In the context of a BSEA hearing, after taking as truethe allegations raised in the hearing request, if the hearing officer finds the party requesting the hearing can prove no set of facts entitling that party to any of the types of relief that may be granted through the BSEA (consistent with its limited grant of authority), the hearing request must be dismissed.

  1. Summary Judgment:

Rule 56 of both the Massachusetts and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)[9] allow parties to move for summary decisions.  801 CMR 1.01(7)(h), akin to Rule 56 and applicable to administrative proceedings in Massachusetts, including the BSEA, provides that summary decision may be granted when there is “no genuine issue of fact relating to all or part of a claim or defense and [the moving party] is entitled to prevail as a matter of law.” “By its very terms, this standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.”[10]  This means that “only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the [case] under the governing law would prevent summary judgment.”[11]  In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the fact-finder must view the entire record “in the light most flattering” to the party opposing summary judgment and “indulg[e] all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor.”[12]

The recipient of a motion for summary decision “must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”[13]  To survive summary judgment and be able to proceed to hearing, the adverse party must show that there is “sufficient evidence” in his/ her favor that the fact finder could decide for him.[14]  “If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.”[15]

Under FRCP 56 (c)(1)(B) summary judgment may be granted when a party asserting that a fact cannot be in dispute, supports this assertion by citing to materials that show the absence of a genuine dispute or show that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to the contrary.  Rule 56 (c)(3) allows the fact finder to consider not only the cited materials, but also consideration of other materials on the record.  Pursuant to section (f)(1) and (3), the fact finder is further authorized to “grant summary judgement for a nonmovant; …or consider summary judgment on its own after identifying for the parties material facts that may not be genuinely in dispute” and giving the parties notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond.  It is pursuant to the aforementioned sections of Rule 56 of the FRCP that the undersigned hearing officer considers the documents submitted by Medway with its Motion to Dismiss in the context of summary judgment for either party.

  1. Jurisdiction of the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA):

The BSEA’s grant of authority is delineated in the IDEA, M.G.L. c.71B, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the regulations promulgated under those statutes. 

The IDEA expressly grants special education hearing officers’ jurisdiction over issues relating to “the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to such child”. 20 U.S.C. §1415(b)(6)(A).

M.G.L. c. 71B, § 2A(a), grants the BSEA jurisdiction to hold adjudicatory hearings involving,

disputes between and among parents, school districts, private schools and state agencies concerning: (i) any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, education program or educational placement of a child with a disability or the provision of a free and appropriate public education to the child arising under this chapter and regulations promulgated hereunder or under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. section 1400 et seq., and its regulations; or (ii) a student’s rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. section 794, and its regulations.  

Consistent with 603 CMR 28.08(3), addressing the jurisdictional authority of the BSEA, a school district may, among other things, request a hearing at any time on any matter involving the

…eligibility, evaluation, placement, IEP, provision of special education in accordance with state and federal law, or procedural protections of state and federal law for student with disabilities….

Moreover, consistent with the IDEA, the BSEA may exert its jurisdictional authority over matters brought to the BSEA “within two years of the date on which the parent or agency knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the complaint” unless one of the exceptions under federal law is met.  20 U.S.C. §1415(f)(3)(C).


In addition to hearings, the BSEA also conducts mediations, consistent with the IDEA, M.G.L. c. 71B, §2A and 603 CMR 28.08(3).  When the parties reach resolution of any aspect of their dispute in the context of a mediation, the final agreement between or among the parties is memorialized in a mediation agreement.  20 U.S.C. 1415(e)(2)(F) specifically states that,

Written agreement.  In the case that a resolution is reached to resolve the complaint through the mediation process, the parties shall execute a legally binding agreement that sets forth such resolution and that-

  1. States that all discussions that occurred during the mediation process shall be confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding;
  2.  Is signed by both the parent and a representative of the agency who has the authority to bind such agency; and
  3. Is enforceable in any State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States.

The IDEA and its implementing regulations are clear that written mediations agreements can only be enforced and interpreted by a state court of competent jurisdiction or federal district court, not through the BSEA or a similar forum.[16] [Emphasis supplied].


There is no dispute that prior to Student turning 22 years old, on or about September 18, 2021, he was eligible for and received special education and related services through Medway.  Additionally, Medway offered to provide and or fund services beyond Student’s 22nd birthday consistent with Mediation Agreements I and II.

It is noteworthy that despite having requested and been granted an extension of time to file a response or opposition to the District’s Motion, Parent/ Student did not submit any opposition or communicate with the BSEA at any time thereafter.[17]  Therefore, the BSEA’s information regarding Student’s position in this matter is limited to the one sentence in the section of the Hearing Request requiring the petitioner to describe the relief sought at hearing and as it may be reflected in the documents submitted by the District. 

Parent’s/ Student’s Hearing Request provides no context regarding the facts or allegations leading to the relief requested.  The Hearing Request only states that Student seeks “COVID compensatory hours and job coaching and hours the District owes [Student]”.[18]  Student’s claim, which is well beyond the IDEA’s two-years statute of limitations,[19] involves services which were the subject of two Mediation Agreements signed by the Parties on June 9, 2021, and December 22, 2022, respectively.  Accordingly, Medway argues that since the relief requested by Parent/ Student is the subject of Mediation Agreements, and since pursuant to explicit language in the IDEA, the BSEA lacks jurisdiction to enforce the same, the case should be dismissed. 

As noted above, Student’s/ Parent’s Hearing Request offers no clarity regarding the factual allegations leading to their desired relief.  However, in looking at the documents submitted by Medway, it would appear that the filing of Student’s/ Parent’s BSEA Hearing Request was Student’s/ Parent’s preemptive attempt to circumvent the June 2024 deadline established by Medway in its August 10, 2023, communication involving payment of services to Student were he able to secure a service provider.

Student’s/ Parent’s Hearing Request offers no explanation or factual basis in support of the relief requested.  However, as consideration of the documentary evidence proffered by the District is not allowed in the context of a motion to dismiss, it is not possible to dispose of this matter on the pleadings only under the motion to dismiss standard.  As such, Medway’s Motion to Dismiss must be DENIED.

This matter is, however, amenable to disposition under summary judgment and as such, I sua sponte review the evidence under said standard, consistent with FRCP 56(f).

Under a summary judgment standard, the undersigned hearing officer can consider the documentary evidence attached to the District’s Motion to Dismiss.  Despite having been provided ample opportunity to dispute the facts and documentary evidence submitted by Medway, Student never did.  As such, I accept those facts as true for purposes of this Ruling and findthis documentary evidence to be persuasive that given Student’s age and the time elapsed, the only possible compensatory hours or services allegedly owed Student would have to stem from the Parties’ Mediation Agreements I and II.[20] 

Since the IDEA expressly grants courts jurisdiction over enforcement of mediated agreements[21], the BSEA is strictly precluded from enforcing said agreements.  [Emphasis supplied].  Under the undisputed facts of this case, the BSEA cannot grant the relief sought by Parent as a matter of law.  As such, summary judgment is GRANTED in favor of Medway. 


  1. Medway’s Motion to Dismiss is Denied.
  2. Summary Judgment is GRANTED in favor of Medway. 

So Ordered by the Hearing Officer,

Rosa I. Figueroa                                                                                         

Dated: June 3, 2024




Effect of BSEA Decision, Dismissal with Prejudice and Allowance of Motion for Summary Judgment

20 U.S.C. s. 1415(i)(1)(B) requires that a decision of the Bureau of Special Education Appeals be final and subject to no further agency review. Similarly, a Ruling Dismissing a Matter with Prejudice and a Ruling Allowing a Motion for Summary Judgment are final agency actions. If a ruling orders Dismissal with Prejudice of some, but not all claims in the hearing request, or if a ruling orders Summary Judgment with respect to some but not all claims, the ruling of Dismissal with Prejudice or Summary Judgment is final with respect to those claims only. 

Accordingly, the Bureau cannot permit motions to reconsider or to re-open either a Bureau decision or the Rulings set forth above once they have issued. They are final subject only to judicial (court) review.

Except as set forth below, the final decision of the Bureau must be implemented immediately. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, s. 14(3), appeal of the decision does not operate as a stay.  This means that the decision must be implemented immediately even if the other party files an appeal in court, and implementation cannot be delayed while the appeal is being decided.  Rather, a party seeking to stay—that is, delay implementation of– the decision of the Bureau must request and obtain such stay from the court having jurisdiction over the party’s appeal.

Under the provisions of 20 U.S.C. s. 1415(j), “unless the State or local education agency and the parents otherwise agree, the child shall remain in the then-current educational placement,” while a judicial appeal of the Bureau decision is pending, unless the child is seeking initial admission to a public school, in which case “with the consent of the parents, the child shall be placed in the public school program.” 

Therefore, where the Bureau has ordered the public school to place the child in a new placement, and the parents or guardian agree with that order, the public school shall immediately implement the placement ordered by the Bureau.  School Committee of Burlington v. Massachusetts Department of Education, 471 U.S. 359 (1985).  Otherwise, a party seeking to change the child’s placement while judicial proceedings are pending must ask the court having jurisdiction over the appeal to grant a preliminary injunction ordering such a change in placement. Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305 (1988); Doe v. Brookline, 722 F.2d 910 (1st Cir. 1983).


A party contending that a Bureau of Special Education Appeals decision is not being implemented may file a motion with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals contending that the decision is not being implemented and setting out the areas of non-compliance. The Hearing Officer may convene a hearing at which the scope of the inquiry shall be limited to the facts on the issue of compliance, facts of such a nature as to excuse performance, and facts bearing on a remedy. Upon a finding of non-compliance, the Hearing Officer may fashion appropriate relief, including referral of the matter to the Legal Office of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or other office for appropriate enforcement action. 603 CMR 28.08(6)(b).

Rights of Appeal

Any party aggrieved by a final agency action by the Bureau of Special Education Appeals may file a complaint for review in the state superior court of competent jurisdiction or in the District Court of the United States for Massachusetts. 20 U.S.C. s. 1415(i)(2).

An appeal of a Bureau decision to state superior court or to federal district court must be filed within ninety (90) days from the date of the decision. 20 U.S.C. s. 1415(i)(2)(B).


In order to preserve the confidentiality of the student involved in these proceedings, when an appeal is taken to superior court or to federal district court, the parties are strongly urged to file the complaint without identifying the true name of the parents or the child, and to move that all exhibits, including the transcript of the hearing before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, be impounded by the court. See Webster Grove School District v. Pulitzer Publishing Company, 898 F.2d 1371 (8th. Cir. 1990). If the appealing party does not seek to impound the documents, the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, through the Attorney General’s Office, may move to impound the documents.

Record of the Hearing

The Bureau of Special Education Appeals will provide an electronic verbatim record of the hearing to any party, free of charge, upon receipt of a written request. Pursuant to federal law, upon receipt of a written request from any party, the Bureau of Special Education Appeals will arrange for and provide a certified written transcription of the entire proceedings by a certified court reporter, free of charge.

[1]   The Facts delineated here are considered true for purposes of this Ruling only.

[2]   This Order further advised Parent/ Student that “failure to submit a response by said deadline will result in issuance of a determination without her input.”

[3]   801 Code Mass Regs 1.01.

[4]  Iannacchino v. Ford Motor Co., 451 Mass. 623, 636 (2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)).

[5]  Blank v. Chelmsford Ob/Gyn,.C., 420 Mass. 404, 407 (1995).

[6]  Tomaselli v. Beaulieu, No. 08-CV-10666-PBS, 2010WL2105347, at 3* (D. Mass. May 7, 2010); Gargano v. Liberty Intern. Underwriters, Inc. 572 F. 3d 45, 49 (1st Cir. 2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 559, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1967(2007)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (discussing the plausibility standard).

[7]   Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1955).

[8]  Golchin v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 460 Mass. 222, 223 (2011) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

[9]  FRCP 56 authorizes the entry of summary judgment whenever it appears that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”

[10]  Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

[11]  Id. at 248.

[12]  See Maldonado-Denis v. Castillo-Rodriguez, 23 F.3d 576, 581 (1st Cir. 1994); see Galloway v. United States, 319 U.S. 372, 395 (1943).

[13]  Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

[14]  Id. at 249.

[15]  Id. at 249-50.

[16]   See, Student v. Worcester Public Schools, BSEA # 1302473 (Putney-Yaceshyn, 2013); Student v. Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School District, BSEA # 11-2546 (Figueroa, 2010); In Re: Israel and the Monson Public Schools, BSEA #10-5064 (Byrne 2010), all the preceding finding that the BSEA lacks jurisdiction to enforce mediation and settlement agreements.

[17] This conduct appears to be similar to the manner in which Parent/ Student communicated with the District over the past few years.

[18]  As drafted, Student’s Hearing Request would not overcome a Sufficiency Challenge consistent with the IDEA, but Medway never raised this issue.  The inadequacies of Student’s filing were discussed during a telephone conference call with the parties on April 22, 2024.  Student did not amend the Hearing Request and Medway did not pursue the sufficiency issue after that call.  As such, this Motion is not decided under a Sufficiency Challenge standard, and the deadline to pursue a Sufficiency Challenge has also passed.

[19]  Neither exception to the IDEA statute of limitations is applicable here.

[20]   Of note, the Mediation Agreement I, as it is dated June 2021, also falls outside the IDEA statute of limitations.

[21]   20 U.S.C. 1415(e)(2)(F).

Updated on June 7, 2024

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