BSEA 12-9815 Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Did Not Provide Transition Services

HO Ann Scannell

Hearing Officer Ann Scannell  issued a decision reported at 19 Massachusetts Special Education Reporter (MSER) 264 in which she found that Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District failed to include in the student’s IEP the transition services to which he is entitled by law. His parents, represented by Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee (MHLAC) attorneys, sought compensatory services. She wrote:

“Unlike the student who transitions to college, Evan’s transition to the workplace and community necessitates the development of appropriate social and emotional skills. D-R failed to appropriately provide these services to prepare Evan for employment and independent living, as required by the IDEA…Therefore, I order that Evan’s diploma be revoked and his eligibility for services be extended through age 22.”

Kotin, Crabtree, Strong’s comments on this ruling, at 19 MSER C-38, state:

“D-R seems to have taken the position that D-R did not have to provide any services in its IEPs or transition planning form to address Evan’s sexually inappropriate behaviors. However, as Hearing Officer Scannell correctly points out, there is a Massachusetts federal district court case that held that the public school was responsible for remediating a student’s inappropriate sexual behavior that jeopardized the student’s ability to be successful in the community.”

In her ruling, Hearing Officer Scannell cites Lessard v. Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District, 518 F.3rd 18 (1st Cir. 2008), and notes that:

“In Lessard, the First Circuit considered transition services, concluding that FAPE principles apply in the determination of their appropriateness. The Court found that transition services must be considered ‘in the aggregate and in light of the child’s overall needs’…According to at least some judicial and BSEA decisions, however, a district may not graduate a special education student unless that student has also made progress on or completed IEP goals and objectives and, where appropriate, has received transition services. (footnote)”