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In Re: Student v. Springfield Public Schools BSEA # 24-05038      


Division of Administrative Law Appeals

Bureau of Special Education Appeals

In Re:    Student v. Springfield Public Schools                                                         

BSEA # 24-05038      

  Ruling on Springfield Public Schools Motion To Dismiss Parent (sic)/Motion for Summary Judgment;

Ruling on Student’s Motion;

Ruling on Student’s Motion Requesting a Hearing on Perjury Allegations;

Ruling on Student’s Motion to Join the Springfield School Committee and Evidentiary Hearing

On March 7, 2024[1], Student[2] filed a “Motion” in the above-referenced matter, in which he asserted that the “argument and supporting laws provide sufficient grounds to move forward in the BSEA.”  Though simply titled “Motion”, given its timing and content, this document appears to be Student’s attempt to clarify the remaining issues for hearing, as Student was ordered to do on February 2, 2024.[3] 

On March 28, 2024, Springfield Public Schools (Springfield or District) filed a Motion to Dismiss Parent (sic)/ Motion for Summary Judgment seeking to dismiss the claims surviving the BSEA’s Ruling of January 24, 2024, dismissing several, but not all, of Student’s claims.  Springfield argued that based on the undisputed facts including the evidence and previous BSEA rulings and decisions, “there are no genuine issues of material fact on any element of [Student’s] claim upon which relief can be granted”.

Student responded to Springfield’s Motion on April 11, 2024.  On April 21, 2024, Student submitted an additional document (Student’s Transition Plan Form) which he had inadvertently omitted previously.

On or about April 3, 2024, Student filed a Motion to Request, Motion Hearing on Springfield’s filing and Present Evidence of Affidavit, Perjury”.

The District responded on April 5, 2024, denying the “bad faith with gross misjudgment or deliberate indifference”, “retaliatory practices”, “disability discrimination” and perjury allegations raised by Student, noting Student’s failure to link any of the documents forwarded to her specific claims of false statements. 

On April 7, 2024, Student filed a Response to [Springfield Public Schools’] Evidentiary Hearing Response.

On May 6, 2024, Student filed a Motion to Join the Springfield School Committee and Evidentiary Hearing.

On May 13, 2024, Springfield filed a Response and Opposition to Parent’s Motion to Join Springfield School Committee.

On May 16, 2023, Student responded to the District’s Response and Opposition to Parent’s Motion to Join Springfield School Committee.

Lastly, Student again objected to the District’s waiver of the Resolution Session.  This issue was previously discussed and addressed in In Re: Springfield Public Schools and Ollie Ruling on Eight Items of Relief, 28 MSER 29 (Berman, 2/23/2022) involving the same Parties, finding that per the IDEA, if a school district fails to convene a resolution session within the first 15 days after receipt of a parent/ student initiated Hearing Request, the parent/ student is no longer prevented from proceeding to a hearing on the merits.  No other remedy exists for the parent/student under the IDEA for such a waiver of the Resolution Session.

This Ruling is issued in consideration of the Parties’ submissions, the previous BSEA Decisions in Ollie I, Ollie II and BSEA# 2309351, and the Ruling on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in In Re: Parent and Student v. Springfield Public Schools, Springfield School Committee (Including Melinda Phelps), DESE and Murphy, Hessee, Toomey & Lehane, BSEA #2309351 (Mitchell, 6/12/23) (hereinafter “Ruling in BSEA #2309351”) regarding the same parties.  Because a hearing would not advance my understanding of the issues, this matter is being decided on submission of documents only.  In this regard, Student’s request for Hearing to address the perjury allegations is DENIED, as explained later in this Ruling.

Historical, Procedural and Factual[4] Background:

  1. Student is a 24 year-old resident of Springfield, Massachusetts.  He was an IDEA eligible student through April of 2022, his twenty second birthday.
  2. In 2019 Student completed high school at the Renaissance High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. 
  3. By the end of twelfth grade, June of 2019, Student had earned all the course credits necessary to receive a high school diploma.  (Declaration of Dr, Mary Anne Morris.)
  4. Student passed all sections of the MCAS examination except Biology, despite having taken and passed biology class in 10th grade while attending Renaissance High School.  As such he has not been awarded a high school diploma.
  5. Upon completing twelfth grade at the Renaissance High School, Student participated in the AIC College Steps Program (AIC), a transition program designed to prepare students for post-secondary life, vocationally, academically and by fostering independence in the community.[5]  Student participated in the AIC program through the end of the 2021-2022 school year, at which time his participation in educational programming ended.
  6. On February 12, 2019, Springfield offered to complete an MCAS Biology Cohort Appeal for Student, who was then in twelfth grade.  The Cohort Appeal is based on a comparison of the grade point average and MCAS scores of a student for whom the appeal is filed, and those of at least six other students enrolled in the same course at the same time as the student who is the subject of the appeal.
  7. Karen Bryant was, at all relevant times, the Project Manager for Assessment & Research for the District.  She was responsible for preparing the MCAS Cohort performance Appeals pursuant to 603 CMR 30.05(5)(e).  (Declaration of Karen Bryant.)
  8. For purposes of a DESE MCAS Biology Cohort Appeal, the cohort is selected from among the cohort of 10th grade classmates who took the Biology course at the Renaissance School with Student.  (Declaration of Karen Bryant.)
  9. On or about February 12, 2019, Parent refused consent for Springfield to proceed with the Biology Cohort Appeal.  Parent later consented to proceeding with the Biology Cohort Appeal in the fall of 2021 (Declaration of Karen Bryant; email from Parent).
  10. Per the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), a district’s superintendent may initiate a portfolio appeal on behalf of an IDEA eligible student with the consent of the parent.  This process, known as the portfolio MCAS Performance Appeal (Portfolio Appeal), consists of submitting a student’s work in the subject area appealed to demonstrate the student’s level of performance and involves months of focused instruction to produce samples that address the learning standards necessary for submission. (https://doe.mass.edu/mcassapppeals/faq.html.)
  11. Between November 2021 and April 2022, Dr. Morris was Springfield’s Superintendent’s designee for submitting DESE Portfolio Appeals.  (Declaration of Dr. Morris).
  12. Between 2019 and October 2021, Parent refused consent for submission of the Portfolio Appeal.
  13. Parent consented to a Portfolio Appeal in October of 2021 via a Mediation Agreement. (Declaration of Dr. Morris).
  14. The October 2021 Mediation Agreement noted the Parties’ agreement to submission of a Portfolio and Cohort Appeals, providing in relevant part that,

The Student will work with a College Steps Mentor to provide executive functioning support as the Student works through MCAS Biology material in preparation for Biology MCAS testing.  This programming will occur during the Student’s College Steps programming hours.  The Mentor will work with the Student to complete MCAS Biology prep materials for an MCAS Biology Portfolio.  District staff will gather and collate the information for submission of the Portfolio.  If the Portfolio is not accepted by DESE, the Student will take the Biology MCAS test.  (a)  If the Student’s DESE Cohort Appeal is accepted, the Student will not create or submit an MCAS Biology Portfolio or sit for the MCAS Biology test. (Ollie III, Ruling III, FF#2). 

  1. The MCAS Biology Performance Cohort Appeal submitted to DESE resulted in a “No Determination” status because Student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) did not meet or exceed that of his comparison 10th grade biology cohort. (Declaration of Karen Bryant).
  2. On May 5, 2022, DESE confirmed having received Student’s Biology Portfolio Appeal and that it would be scored by DESE content experts. Student’s Portfolio Appeal did not meet DESE’s expectations.  (Declaration of Dr. Morris).
  3. Due to instructional disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts MCAS passing score requirements for high school students expected to graduate in 2020, 2021 and 2022 were modified.  These MCAS requirement modifications are known as the Modified Competency Determination (DESE Competency Determination), or COVID-19 MCAS waiver.  Per DESE Competency Determination regulations, students are assigned a graduating class based on when they first enter the ninth grade in public school and that class never changes for Competency Determination purposes.  (Declaration of Dr. Morris; see https://doe.mass.edu/mcas/graduation.html.)
  4. Since Student was assigned to the 2019 graduating class when he entered high school in Springfield, the DESE Competency Determination or COVID-19 MCAS waiver did not apply to him or his 2019 graduating class cohorts.  Per DESE’s regulations, Student remains assigned to that class. (Declaration of Dr. Morris).
  5. Parent and Student filed a Hearing Request on December 30, 2019, and soon thereafter, withdrew the request.
  6. On February 24, 2020, Parent and Student filed a new Hearing Request, BSEA# 2007894.  A Decision in this matter was issued by Hearing Officer Amy Reichbach on November 10, 2020, as In Re: Springfield Public Schools and Ollie[6], 26 MSER 275 (Reichbach, 11/10/2020) (Ollie I).
  7. The issues in the Ollie I matter included allegations of substantive and procedural violations involving the IEPs promulgated by Springfield between May 2018 and April of 2021.  Claims raised by Parent and Student included impeding Parent’s ability to participate in the decision-making process, Student’s failure to pass Biology MCAS and the need for MCAS tutoring, challenges relating to the cohort appeal, challenges to graduation and issuance of Student’s diploma, erroneous data contained in Student’s Transition Planning Form/ graduation date, discrimination, and other claims.
  8. On September 16, 2020, Parent and Student filed a Hearing Request, BSEA# 2102164, and later Amended their complaint on or about December 2, 2020.  A Decision in this matter was issued by Hearing Officer Lindsay Byrne on March 18, 2021, as In Re: Springfield Public Schools and Ollie, 27 MSER 158 (Byrne, 3/18/2021) (Ollie II).  
  9.  In Ollie II Parent and Student raised allegations of substantive and procedural violations against Springfield regarding the Teams convened on August 17, 2020, and September 10, 2020, involving Team composition, and whether the IEP revisions resulting from the Team meetings offered Student a FAPE.  The Hearing Request also raised allegations of harassment, intimidation and discrimination which were ultimately found not to be supported by the evidentiary record.
  10.  The Decision in Ollie II, issued on March 18, 2021, specifically noted that

[t]he Parent’s arguments, both before and during the hearing, appeared to seek a “do over” of those presented unsuccessfully during the Ollie I Hearing. This Hearing does not, and may not, entertain arguments and evidence designed to challenge the factual findings and legal conclusions made by the BSEA Hearing Officer in the immediately preceding proceedings, Ollie I.

  1. Ollie II further concluded that Student’s IEPs and revisions were reasonably calculated to offer Student a FAPE and that they had been appropriately implemented by Springfield during the period covered in said Decision.
  2. Parent and Student filed a new Hearing Request, BSEA #2203555, in late 2021 or early 2022, later Amended on April 11, 2022.  Then on May 20, 2022, Parent/ Student filed another Hearing Request, BSEA# 2210887.  These two BSEA cases were consolidated and entertained by Hearing Officer Sara Berman as In Re: Springfield Public Schools and Ollie (Ollie III). 
  3. Ollie III centered on allegations of erroneous compilation and submission of an inaccurate Portfolio Appeal and issues with regard to the Parties’ 2021 Mediation Agreement.  Ultimately Hearing Officer Berman granted Summary Judgment in favor of Springfield on all issues covered by the Parties’ Mediation Agreement in a Ruling noting that,

… [even if Student is] dissatisfied with the terms of the agreement itself or believes that Springfield has not fully complied with the agreement [, t]he BSEA does not have jurisdiction or authority to either modify or enforce a mediation agreement. (Ollie III, Ruling II, defined below).

  1. Additional allegations raised in Ollie III involved “’deliberate indifference,’ discrimination, and procedural violations that prevented Parent from receiving a fair hearing before the BSEA” in her previous cases.  (Ollie III, Ruling III, defined below) Student’s claims also included denial of FAPE for failure to provide Student with a highly qualified Biology MCAS tutor, which test Student needed to pass in order to receive his high school diploma.
  2. Pertinent and dispositive Rulings were issued in Ollie III, namely, Ruling on Eight Items of Relief, 28 MSER 29 issued on February 23, 2022 (Ollie II, Ruling I), Ruling on Springfield’s Motion to Dismiss/ Motion for Summary Judgment Relative to Parent’s Amended Hearing Request, 28 MSER 111 issued on June 1, 2022 (Ollie II, Ruling II) and ruling on a Motion to Dismiss of Springfield Public Schools, 28 MSER 247 issued on September 19, 2022 (Ollie III,Ruling III). 
  3. On March 21, 2023, Student and Parent filed a new Hearing Request, BSEA# 2309351, which was initially assigned to Hearing Officer Berman but administratively reassigned to Hearing Officer Marguerite Mitchell.  Thereafter, on May 20, 2023, Student and Parent amended the Hearing Request.  This Hearing Request was filed against Springfield, the Springfield School Committee (SSC), Attorney Melinda Phelps, Murphy, Hesse Toomey & Lehane, LLP and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), alleging that the respondents had “breached the IDEA contract and (sic) false promises resulting in a denial of FAPE, ADA and 504 violations.”  Among other allegations, the complaint asserted that Springfield had:

[A]ltered data, withheld evidence, made false claims or (sic) work product, with the sole intention of stealing away [Student’s] right to a diploma in retaliation by abusing (sic) power and positions.

[I]mproperly coded Student as a” life-skill” “non-diploma” track student despite documenting in Student’s IEP that he was scheduled to receive a diploma and improperly withheld this information from Parent and Student, in retaliation for Parent and Student filing complaints against [Springfield].  Specifically, on at least 6 occasions between August 2019 and May 2022, Student was enrolled and unenrolled yearly and “his diploma track sims data were changed to a life skills non-diploma track student [r]esulting in [Student] not receiving the covid 19 modified CD diploma.  Student’s placement was improperly changed to the life skills program called Springfield Transition Academy,” a life skills MCAS ALT program.”  Further, SPS Attorney Melinda Phelps, Murphy Hesse, Tomey & Lehane, LLP (MHTL), and Attorney Alisia St, Florian knew of these enrollment changes since “at least August 17, 2020 (during the [prior BSEA hearing known as] Ollie).”  However, Parent “cannot say for certain that Attorney St. Florian had knowledge in June 2019”…[but she] did know August 17, 2022”.  Parent is “quite certain of Attorney Phelp’s involvement in altering the enrollment data since June 2019”.

…SPS “staff” acknowledged in unspecified “emails” that “the data is incorrect and should be fixed, however they lied about it when asked and attempted to cover it up”. (Ruling in BSEA #2309351).

  1. Additional claims raised by Parent and Student in BSEA #2309351 included general statements regarding procedural and substantive denials of FAPE, violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, discrimination, lying, portfolio errors , MCAS waiver requests to Springfield’s school committee, failure to implement  IEP provisions relating to “tutoring for the biology MCAS and ‘providing all opportunities for a diploma’”,  denial of access to records, civil rights violations, and other claims. (Ruling in BSEA #2309351). 
  2. A Ruling issued on June 12, 2023, on Springfield’s Motion to Dismiss in BSEA #2309351, dismissed most of Parent’s and Student’s claims, with prejudice, for lack of jurisdiction, and pursuant to res judicata and collateral estoppel. (Ruling in BSEA #2309351).  This Ruling noted that consistent with the IDEA’s two-year statute of limitations, only viable claims surviving the Motion to Dismiss occurring between May 2, 2021, and the day before Student turned 22 years old in April of 2022 would be entertained.
  3. Hearing Officer Mitchell allowed Student to proceed to Hearing only on the following issues:

    a) Whether Student was discriminated against or not provided with reasonable accommodations he was entitled to while attending the AIC College Steps program between May 2, 2021 and April 5, 2022, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973; and,

    b) Whether Student was entitled to and provided with a licensed biology and/ or licensed special education teacher as a tutor to support Student in preparing to take the biology MCAS between May 2, 2021 and April 5, 2022.  (Ruling in BSEA #2309351).
  4. Following two days of Hearing, in a Decision issued on January 25, 2024, Hearing Officer Mitchell found that,

The District did not discriminate against Student or fail to provide him with the reasonable accommodations that he was entitled to while attending the AIC College Steps program between May 2, 2021, and April 5, 2022, in violation of Section 504.  Student was not entitled to a licensed biology and/ or licensed special education teacher as a tutor to support him in preparing to retake the biology MCAS between May 2, 2021, and April 5, 2022.  (Decision, BSEA #2309351).

  1. On November 27, 2023, while the Hearing in BSEA# 2309351 was underway, Parent filed the instant Hearing Request (BSEA# 2405038).  
  2. On December 7, 2023, Springfield filed a Motion to Dismiss in BSEA # 2405038 and via Ruling issued on January 24, 2024, most of Student’s claims were dismissed.[7] 
  3. An Order issued on February 2, 2024, granted the District’s request for postponement of the Hearing and delineated the two remaining issues surviving Springfield’s first Motion to Dismiss.  The BSEA understood[8] the remaining issues to be:

    a) Whether Springfield’s alleged failure to factor in Student’s college courses while he attended the AIC College Steps Program denied him FAPE;

    b) The need for Student to be provided biology tutoring to create a new cohort… Student shall consistent with the January 24, 2023 Ruling submit clarifications regarding the specific Superintendent performance appeal subject to review in this forum.

Footnote 1 in said Order noted that:

To the extent that Student’s allegation regarding denial of access to “emergency regulations” refers to the Modified Competency Determination Waiver, this issue remains open but is not likely to survive a motion to dismiss, as this was an option offered to all students, regular and special education alike, as explained in the January 24, 2024 [Ruling on Springfield’s Motion to Dismiss].  Since Student’s Hearing Request makes only a vague reference to “emergency regulations”, without more specificity, this claim was not dismissed.

  1. The February 2, 2024 Order instructed: a) Student to provide the BSEA with clarification on the claims surviving the Motion to Dismiss by the close of business on March 4, 2024, including clarification as to the specific Superintendent performance appeal Student sought review ; b) the District to file the Motion for Summary Judgment and/or Motion to Dismiss it intended to file by the close of business on March 29, 2024; and c) established April 16, 2024 as the deadline for Parent to file her response or opposition to any motion filed by the District.  Student was further instructed to clarify which specific Superintendent Performance Appeal was subject to the instant BSEA hearing and was advised that no new issues could be added.  The Order set the Hearing for May 20, 2024.
  2. The Decisions and dispositive Rulings in Ollie I, Ollie II, and Ollie III[9], have been appealed and are currently pending in Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Legal Standards:

  1. Motion to Dismiss:

The Standard Adjudicatory Rules of Practice and Procedure, 801 CMR 1.01(7)(g)(3) and Rule XVII A and B of the BSEA Hearing Rules for Special Education Appeals (Hearing Rules), provide the parameters under which a hearing officer may allow a motion to dismiss.  Pursuant to the aforementioned regulation and rule, if the party requesting the hearing fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the case may be dismissed. 

801 CMR 1.01(7)(g)(3) and Rule XVII A and B of the BSEA Hearing Rules are analogous to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and as such the same standards used by the courts when deciding motions to dismiss are used by BSEA hearing officers. 

To survive a motion to dismiss there must be “factual ‘allegations plausibly suggesting (not merely consistent with)’ an entitlement to relief.”[10]  When considering 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.”[11]  These “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . [based] on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)…”[12]

Moreover, the type of relief sought in the initial complaint must be among those a BSEA hearing officer is able to grant consistent with the federal and state statutes and regulations addressing special education, i.e., the IDEA, M.G.L. c. 71B, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  See CalderonOrtiz v. LaBoy-Alvarado, 300 F.3d 60 (1st Cir. 2002); Whitinsville Plaza Inc. v. Kotseas, 378 Mass. 85, 89 (1979); Norfolk County Agricultural School, 45 IDELR 26 (2005).  If the facts raised by the party opposing the motion to dismiss (herein Student) raise even the plausibility of a viable claim giving rise to some form of relief under any of the aforementioned statutes, the case may not be dismissed.  See, Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1948 (2009).[13] 

Also, to survive a motion to dismiss the complaint subject to said motion may not include issues and claims raised and addressed in prior hearings between the same parties.  Such claims would not survive a motion to dismiss as they are barred pursuant to principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel, which preclude re-litigation of the same issues and claims, arising from the same body of facts, between the same parties which have been disposed of in previous cases.  These principles apply to BSEA decisions.[14]

  1. Motion for Summary Judgment:

Rule 56 of both the Massachusetts and the FRCP[15] allow parties to move for summary decisions.  Modeled after Rule 56, 801 CMR 1.01(7)(h), 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.”[16]   This means that “only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the [case] under the governing law would prevent summary judgment.”[17]  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.”[18]

In response to a motion for summary decision, the recipient “must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”[19]  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.[20] “If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.”[21]

  1. Motion for Joinder:

Rule 1(J) of the Hearing Rules authorizes joinder of a party in a BSEA proceeding upon written request, where, “complete relief cannot be granted among those who are already parties, or the person being joined has an interest relating to the subject matter of the case and is so situated that the case cannot be disposed of in their absence.”  The Rule requires consideration of the following factors when determining joinder: “the risk of prejudice to the present parties in the absence of the proposed party; the range of alternatives for fashioning relief; the inadequacy of a judgement entered in the proposed party’s absence; and the existence of an alternative forum to resolve the issues.” Hearing Rules, Rule 1(J).

When determining whether the criteria for joinder is met in a BSEA hearing, the Hearing Officer must consider, among other factors, federal and state special education laws and regulations governing the BSEA and its limited jurisdictional authority as described in the next section.  See 20 USC §1415(b)(6); M.G.L. c. 71B §2A; 34 CFR 300.507(a)(1); 603 CMR 28.08 (3).

  1. BSEA Jurisdiction:

20 U.S.C. § 1415(b)(6) and M.G.L. c. 71B § 2A and 2B establish the BSEA’s jurisdictional authority to resolve special education disputes.  In Massachusetts said jurisdiction   involves 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. M.G.L. c. 71B § 2A and 2B[22]

The aforementioned mandate is embodied in 603 CMR 28.08(3)(a), the applicable Massachusetts special education regulation, granting the BSEA authority to resolve disputes among parents, school districts, private schools and state agencies[23].  Said jurisdictional authority is exercised consistent with 34 CFR §300.154(a) and may involve 

… any matter concerning 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 students with disabilities.[24]

Any party seeking to file a due process hearing request before the BSEA must comply with the IDEA’s two-year statute of limitations adopted in Massachusetts.  That is, a petitioner must initiate the request for a due process proceeding within two years of the date said party knew or should have known of the actions forming the basis of the hearing request[25], unless one of the two exceptions to the IDEA two-year limitation period is met.[26] 

  1. Eligibility Age Range:

MGL c. 71B, defines a “school aged child” as “any person of ages three through twenty-one who has not attained a high school diploma or its equivalent”[27], thereby extending eligibility for special education and related services to children under the age of 22 who have not received a high school diploma or its equivalent.  On the student’s 22nd birthday, the student ceases to be a “school aged child” within the meaning of the statute[28], thus ending his/her entitlement. 

Hence, while 20 USC §1412(a)(1)(A) and (B) require that states provide a FAPE to students with disabilities ages three through 21 years old as a condition of receiving federal IDEA funding[29], in Massachusetts this entitlement is extended through the student’s 22 birthday. 


In rendering this determination I take administrative notice, adopt and incorporate by reference the findings and conclusions reached in the decisions in Ollie I, Ollie II and in BSEA# 2309351, Rulings I, II and III of Ollie III as well as the Ruling on Defendant’s Motions to Dismiss issued in BSEA# 2309351 on June 12, 2023, with which I fully concur.   

  1. Springfield’s Motion to Dismiss:

Student’s March 7, 2024, Motion, filed in response to the February 2, 2024 Order to clarify the two remaining issues for Hearing, alleges that Springfield failed to comply with Parent’s and Student’s IDEA procedural and substantive rights.  Procedurally Student alleges that Springfield withheld records requested by Parent, failed to provide written notice when it unilaterally changed Student’s placement, and denied Superintendent and School Committee appeals to discuss said changes relative to Student turning 22 years old.   Student further argues that because Springfield failed to change Student’s graduation date from 2019 to 2022, Springfield was required to consider a new peer cohort (when considering graduation requirements) and correct Student’s records.  Lastly, Student once again argues that he was denied FAPE during the COVID-19 mandatory school closures.  As a result of these violations and denials of FAPE, Student seeks compensatory education.

In response to Student’s Motion describing his claims for hearing, Springfield filed the instant Motion to Dismiss Parent (sic)/ Motion for Summary Judgment.  

Springfield argues that following issuance of the January 2024 Ruling on Springfield’s first Motion to Dismiss and subsequent Order issued on February 2, 2024, required Parent to clarify the 2 identified remaining issues for Hearing on or before March 4, 2024[30].  The two remaining issues were defined as follows:

  1. Whether Springfield’s alleged failure to factor in Student’s college courses while he attended the AIC College Steps Program denied him FAPE;
  2. The need for Student to be provided biology tutoring to create a new cohort.

Springfield correctly notes that footnote 1 in the February 2, 2024, Order distinguishes educational provisions impacting special education students only versus those impacting all students, special and general education alike, the latter falling outside the jurisdiction of the BSEA.

Student responded to Springfield’s Motion to Dismiss (or for Summary Judgment) demanding to be heard regarding the District’s “cover up IEP falsified documents, and fraudulent concealment since Ollie I”, the first of Student’s five BSEA Appeals in the past five and a half years.  Student reiterated his claim that Springfield failed to provide him and Parent with

written notice explaining why it is proposing or refusing to Initiate or change the provision of FAPE to their child, withholding data, changing his school to a life skills school he never attended denying him FAPE, and stealing his diploma.

Alleging that Springfield’s affidavits were untrue, Student asserted his right to challenge those sworn declarations and Springfield’s alleged abuse of power at a hearing seeking findings and exhaustion of administrative remedies so he can proceed to court for monetary damages.

Student’s April 3, 2024, submission lists the remedies sought as:

  1. Provision of an administrative evidentiary hearing on the motion for all issues identified under the IDEA and Section 504.
  2. Immediately enjoin Ollie and [Parent] from further discriminatory or retaliatory acts, and remove counsel, Mary Ann Morris and Karen Bryant from any further decision-making authority regarding Ollie’s rights as a student with a disability.
  3. Amendments to the education records to remove the inflammatory and untrue allegations, correct school placement by removing Putnum Transitions Academy, and put the correct code into file.
  4. Ordering the development of an appropriate compensatory plan with the goals, with the correct graduation date, per the last IEP signed by Dr. Morris 4-6-2022.  The cohort for Biology is waived, and objectives and supports and services or a Section 504 plan is necessary to address Ollie’s areas of identified need.
  5. Determining that the district has violated Ollie’s rights under the IDEA, Section 504, state laws and rules to procedural and substantive safeguards and an appropriate education.
  6. Awarding Ollie appropriate compensatory education services to make up for the resulting educational deprivations.

Springfield argues that this matter should be dismissed in its entirety on principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel, as well as BSEA jurisdictional authority. 

In support of its position, Springfield cites to the Ruling on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss issued by Hearing Officer Marguerite Mitchell in BSEA # 2309351 on June 12, 2023, which dismissed all but two issues which she later heard and resolved in favor of Springfield in her January 2024 Decision.   Her Ruling of June 12, 2023, referenced and disposed of issues previously raised and addressed by Rulings and Decision of three other Hearing Officers in Ollie I, Ollie II and Ollie III.

Hearing Officer Mitchell’s 2023 Ruling and subsequent 2024 Decision addressed the same challenges Student presents in the instant case: issues involving all possible Biology MCAS appeals; award of a high school diploma; misrepresentation, submission of improper sims data/ enrollment information to DESE; appeals to DESE; receipt of a diploma as a change of placement;  errors that led to Student not receiving a competency determination waiver and hence his diploma; impeding Student’s and Parent’s meaningful participation in Student’s educational decision-making; discrimination and failure to offer reasonable accommodations; provision of properly certified special education or biology tutors when preparing for the Biology MCAS between May of 2021 and April of 2022, and other denials of FAPE.  Hearing Officer Mitchell dismissed and/ or disposed of claims involving the Portfolio Appeal, COVID-19 Modified Determination waiver and MCAS- Alternative (intended to support all students general and special education alike).  Issues involving the Cohort Appeal had been addressed earlier via the Parties’ Mediation Agreement and in Ollie III.

Next, Springfield denies that declining to factor in Student’s AIC College Steps courses denied him a FAPE, and argues that Student did not clarify or even mention this allegation in the March 7, 2024 Motion filed in response to the Hearing Officer’s Order to clarify the remaining issues for Hearing. 

Springfield is correct that Student’s initial Hearing Request neither explains nor cites any policy, regulation or determination requiring it to factor in Student’s AIC courses, or for what purpose.  Moreover, Springfield argues that compensatory education, a remedy sought by Parent in this and previous BSEA hearings, could only be awarded if a finding of educational harm to Student were entered.  Since Student is now 24 years old and the last IEP offered by Springfield was found by a Hearing Officer in a previous matter to have afforded him a FAPE, he may not be awarded any compensatory services at this time. 

Lastly, Springfield argues that it was not required to provide Student with a Biology tutor to create a new cohort because biology tutoring had been offered, mentors to assist with the portfolio preparation had been provided, and more importantly, Hearing Officer Mitchell had already addressed this issue in BSEA# 2309351. 

Springfield thus asserted that having done what it could do to help Student overcome the biology MCAS requirement so he could receive his diploma and having successfully defended against Student’s and Parent’s allegations at the BSEA level, there was nothing left within the jurisdiction of the BSEA to address through the instant matter.  As such, Springfield sought dismissal of the case in its entirety.

 I now evaluate Student’s claims against this backdrop.

Student’s Hearing Request in this matter was filed on November 27, 2023. Thus, pursuant to the IDEA’s two-year statute of limitations, Student would not be able to raise claims occurring prior to November 27, 2021; and, given that Student’s entitlement to special education ended by operation of law when he turned 22 in April 2022, the time period for consideration in this matter would be limited to November 27, 2021, through April 2022. 

Student has filed numerous due process hearing requests between 2019 and 2023, raising multiple substantive and procedural allegations regarding denials of FAPE and failure to issue a diploma (among many other allegations) some of which have considered and ruled on the very time period before me in the instant matter.  As such, my jurisdictional authority is limited to any potential issue (s) not previously addressed by the Rulings and Decisions in Ollie I, Ollie II, Ollie III and BSEA# 2309351 (which hearing was underway in November of 2023 when the instant matter was requested).  

A review of Student’s Hearing Request and March 7, 2024 “Motion” filed in response to the Order to clarify the remaining issues for hearing in the instant case, in the light most favorable to Student, reflects that he seeks to revisit claims and issues addressed in previous BSEA cases [31] with the potential exception of the perjury allegations stemming from the Declarations made by Dr. Morris and Ms. Bryant in conjunction with the instant Motion to Dismiss (or for Summary Judgement).  Despite having been ordered to clarify which specific Superintendent Performance Appeal was subject to review in the instant case, Student’s Motion failed to articulate viable claims, as claims involving withholding of records between 2020 and 2024 had been previously addressed in Ollie III and in the June 2023 Ruling in BSEA# 2309351, and allegations involving impropriety on the part of Springfield staff were previously adjudicated in the previous BSEA matters.[32]  Regarding the allegations of perjury in the Declarations, this issue falls outside the limited jurisdiction of the BSEA. To the extent that Student challenges the truth of the statements factually, these have been addressed in previous BSEA decisions, most, if not all of which remain on appeal before the Federal District Court of Massachusetts.  Regarding Student’s list of remedies sought in the April 3, 2024, listed supra, I note that the BSEA lacks jurisdiction to address or grant the relief requested by Student in remedies requests numbers 2 and 3 above

Given the numerous BSEA decisions and dispositive Rulings involving the same allegations raised here, principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel prevent Student from relitigating any of those issues before the BSEA.  In light of the fact that Student has pending appeals of most if not all of the prior BSEA decisions before the Federal District Court, that Court is now the proper forum for Student to address any remaining concerns, including perjury allegations.  There is no further relief that the BSEA can offer Student and thus, his future efforts may now only be appropriately expended at the Federal District Court.   

I note that all of the FAPE claims in the instant matter raised by Student, who is now 24 years old, occurred while he was a student in Springfield and AIC through April 2022 when his entitlement to special education ended.  Therefore, there can be no new claims involving violations of FAPE for periods following his twenty second birthday.  The instant matter thus emerges as another attempt to revisit his frustration and dissatisfaction with not having been awarded his high school diploma.

Given that Student raised no new claims in the instant case that fall within the jurisdictional authority of the BSEA, Springfield’s Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and Student’s claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE

  1. Springfield’s Motion for Summary Judgment:

Springfield moves for summary judgment in its Motion of March 28, 2024.

While Student’s April 3, 2024, submission specifically disputes the facts raised by Springfield in its Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment, since the standard for dismissal applicable to a motion to dismiss has been met in this case I need not reach a determination regarding summary judgment.

  1. Student’s Motion for a Hearing on the Motion (perjury allegations):

On April 3, 2024, Student filed a Motion alleging perjury on the part of Springfield’s staff’s declarations submitted with Springfield’ Motion to Dismiss Parent/ Summary Judgment and requesting a hearing on this motion.  In essence, Student sought to revisit previous claims involving his right to a diploma, which issue has already been the subject of several hearings at the BSEA level.  Student now argues his right to confront Springfield personnel to challenge the veracity of sworn statements.

Springfield’s April 5, 2024, response denying Student’s allegations of “bad faith with gross misjudgment or deliberate indifference”, “retaliatory practices”, “disability discrimination” and perjury allegations noted that Student had failed to link any of the documents attached to the April 3, 2024 Motion to Student’s specific claims of false statements.  Springfield noted that Student’s Motion “is a flood of [Parent’s] personal grievances without foundation to specific facts and supporting documents.”

Springfield further noted that in contrast to the District, Student had not submitted any sworn affidavits or other evidentiary references. Thus, Springfield asserted that no hearing was necessary to rule on Student’s or the District’s Motions.[33]

Student’s perjury allegations stem from his disagreement with the declarations submitted in support of Springfield’s instant Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment.  As such, this is a new issue.  Given that the February 2024 Order specifically prohibited introduction of new issues, this issue is excluded from the instant case.  Moreover, I note that while Student’s perjury allegations may be pertinent in Court, these fall outside the jurisdiction of the BSEA dispensing with the need for a hearing on this motion.  Student’s Motion for a Hearing on his allegations of perjury is DENIED.

  1. Student’s Motion to Join the Springfield School Committee and Evidentiary Hearing:

Student’s Motion for Joinder of the Springfield School Committee (SSC) and for a hearing on said Motion seeks joinder of SSC as “[t]he school committee must be added as a party because they can testify to the lack of transparency and corruption by Attorney Phelps, Chairman Sarno, Chris Collins and Daniel Warwick.”

This Motion restates Student’s allegations that Springfield withheld information, prevented Student from proceeding to SSC and seeks modification of Student’s records so that he can receive his diploma.  Relying on findings entered by Hearing Officer Marguerite Mitchell in the most recent decision regarding Student (BSEA# 2309351, issued on January 24, 2024), Student alleges that he was denied access to SSC on the basis that the matter was in litigation when he requested that Springfield look at the erroneous data entries so that he could be awarded his diploma.  Student again raises his dispute that COVID-19 emergency regulations (purportedly referring to the Modified Competency Determination Waiver offered to the general education population as well as eligible students) were not properly applied to Student.  Student states that he has a billion-dollar lawsuit against Springfield pending in Federal Court while conceding the BSEA’s lack of jurisdiction over monetary damages.  Further, Student asserts that the BSEA may award a wide variety of education services to students not available through Section 504 or the ADA.  Student also suggests that Springfield employees have committed fraud and perjury.  Lastly, relying on Fry ex rel. E.F. v. Napoleon Cmty. Schs., 137 S.Ct. 743 (2/22/2017), Student notes that

But if, in a suit brought under a different statute, the remedy sought is not for the denial of a FAPE, then exhaustion of the IDEA’s procedures is not required”.… The exhaustion requirement therefore functions effectively as an election of remedies provision, allowing parents to choose which remedies they focus on initially while at the same time emphasizing the education of the child.

Springfield opposed joinder of SSC on the basis that this request was in essence an amendment to the Hearing Request, and further denied Student’s allegations.  Springfield noted that Student’s March 7, 2024, Motion alleged that Springfield’s School Committee

…knew they withheld student records that were requested in writing, never provided written notice to unilateral IEP changes about [Student’s] needs, and then denied my superintendent and school committed appeal to discuss the IEP change of placement concerns.

Springfield also argued that the appeal to SSC referenced by Student and dated June 26, 2023, occurred well after Student’s entitlement period had ended by operation of law.  Springfield further noted that Student had previously attempted to join SSC in his Hearing on BSEA# 2309351 before Hearing Officer Mitchell, who found SSC not to be a necessary party.

As noted in the previous section above, the Order issued on February 2, 2024, specifically noted in the second paragraph that to the extent that Student’s expected amended hearing request sought to add new issues, said request would be denied.  While SSC’s participation at a BSEA hearing as a party was addressed and denied in a previous BSEA matter, its participation here for the purpose stated by Student constitutes a new issue, and this was strictly prohibited per the Order of February 2, 2024.

Student’s submission relies heavily on the decision in BSEA# 2309351, which he has the right to, and may already have, appealed.  I find that Student’s submission fails to establish a persuasive reason why SSC should be joined as a necessary party to this proceeding.  Student’s submission of May 16, 2024, offers no new arguments in support of the joinder Motion, but rather expands on the same arguments offered in the initial Motion.[34]  Therefore, Student’s request for joinder and for an evidentiary hearing are DENIED.

Lastly, I note that Student’s Motion for Joinder of SSC and for an Evidentiary Hearing serves to clarify Student’s ultimate desired relief, perhaps more clearly than previous submissions, to wit: an award of a diploma and monetary damages.  I concur with the Rulings and Decisions issued by my sister Hearing Officers in prior matters involving the Parties herein, in determining that neither of these remedies is available through this forum.

At this juncture, Student has exhausted his administrative remedies through the BSEA well beyond the period of entitlement, and any further filings in this forum would be futile.  This matter is Dismissed with Prejudice in its entirety.  As such, the Parties’ May 2024 requests for postponement of the Hearing are now MOOT.


  1. Springfield’s Motion to Dismiss is hereby GRANTED.  Student’s remaining claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.                         .
  2. Springfield’s Motion for Summary Judgment is MOOT.
  3. Student’s Motion for a Hearing on the issue of perjury is hereby DENIED.
  4. Student’s Motion to Join the Springfield School Committee and Evidentiary Hearing is DENIED.

So Ordered by the Hearing Officer,

Rosa I. Figueroa


Rosa I. Figueroa

Dated: May 17, 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]   On or about March 5 and 6, 2024, Student requested a 48-hour extension of time to file the clarification of issues ordered on February 2, 2024.  On March 6, 2024, shortly after Student’s request was granted, the District filed a request for an extension of time to file a Motion for Summary Judgment (and/or Motion to Dismiss) through the last day of March 2024.  This request was also granted on March 6, 2024.

[2]   Student, who is over 22 years old is represented by Parent who is employed as a special education advocate with special knowledge in the field of special education in Massachusetts.

[3]   Rather than provide clarity, this document was convoluted, disorganized and does not list the remaining issues for Hearing in a clear, simple and straightforward manner.  Thus, the information and issues delineated above are this Hearing Officer’s attempt to decipher Student’s claims.

[4]   The factual statements appearing herein are prepared principally in order to issue these Rulings

[5]  Student asserts to have received college credit for courses taken at AIC, but Springfield argues that the credits could not have been toward a college diploma as he had not received a high-school diploma.

[6]   Ollie is a pseudonym chosen by BSEA Hearing Officer Reichbach for Student and adopted by Hearing Officers Byrne and Berman in subsequent cases between the same parties.

[7]  Parent (the advocate in the instant matter) and Student “refused” the certified copy of this Ruling, and the envelopes were returned to the BSEA unopened.

[8]  Student’s advocate’s convoluted writing style makes it difficult to ascertain what Student’s actual claims are.

[9]   The status of an appeal of BSEA# 2309351 cannot be confirmed at this time as that matter remains in the window for service of such an appeal if one was timely filed.

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

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

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

[13] Denying dismissal if “accepting as true all well-pleaded factual averments and indulging all reasonable inference in the plaintiff’s favor…recovery can be justified under any applicable legal theory”.

[14]  See In Re: Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Xili, BSEA # 18-02999, 24 MSER 14 (Ruling, Byrne 2018) (“The common law doctrine of estoppel- in this case res judicata and collateral estoppel- prevents the BSEA consideration of the Parent’s residency -related claims as a Court in this jurisdiction considered and disposed of the same claims, arising from the same factual allegations against the same party.).

[15]  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.”

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

[17]  Id. at 248.

[18]  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).

[19]  Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

[20]  Id. at 249.

[21]  Id. at 249-50.

[22]  See also 34 CFR § 300.507(a)(1).

[23]  The reference to “state agencies” applies only to Massachusetts state agencies responsible for provision of services to children.

[24]  Parents may also request hearings involving alleged denials of a free, appropriate public education pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as set forth in 34 CFR §§104.31-104.39.

[25]   20 USC 1415(f)(3)(C); 34 CFR 300.507(a)(2); 34 CFR 300.511(e). 

[26]  The two exceptions involve situations in which a parent is prevented from filing a hearing request because of: “(i) specific misrepresentations by the [district] that it had resolved the problem forming the basis of the complaint; or (ii) the [district]’s withholding of information from the parent that was required … to be provided …”.  20 USC 1415(f)(3)(D); 34 CFR 300.511(f).

[27]   MGL c. 71B, §1. 

[28]   20 USC 1412(a)(1)(B); 34 CFR 300.102(a)(1) and (a)(3); see M.G.L. c. 71B § 1; 603 CMR 28.02.

[29]  The exception is in instances where state law does not require provision of such education for children between the ages of three and five or 18 and 21. 

[30]   As noted above, on March 6, 2027, Student received a 48-hour extension of time to submit this clarification.

[31]  Remedies items numbers 4, 5 and 6 supra have already been addressed in previous BSEA hearings as have Student’s claims regarding withholding of, or incorrect data and its impact on Springfield’s failure to award Student his high school diploma. 

[32]  To the extent that Student’s Motion clarifying the issues for hearing relied on the March 12, 2020 Memorandum from the US Department of Education addressing the impact of COVID-19 on assessments this Memorandum predates the periods subject to this appeal.  Regarding the September 3, 2021 Memorandum from the US Department of Education addressing a Return to School Roadmap, Student was attending AIC in Springfield during this period and this was covered in Hearing Officer Mitchell’s case.

[33]   Springfield’s April 5, 2024, response (formatted as a letter) further stated that “the District does request that the Parent be warned that she may not put forth serious but unfounded and unsubstantiated, and likely defamatory, allegations against the District, its counsel and employees.  Without such a warning, the decorum of the BSEA is compromised and the ability for litigants to conduct business free of personal attacks is eroded.”

[34]  This submission also raises racial discrimination and corruption on the part of Springfield.  Notwithstanding that these claims are prohibited new issues, the BSEA lacks jurisdiction to address those concerns. 

Updated on May 31, 2024

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