School district, parents settle complaint over speech therapy

Published May 15, 2018 at 4:00pm

The Rome school district will provide 25 hours of compensatory speech/language therapy to a student with a disability in additional half-hour sessions this school year and in 2018-19, in a settlement of parents’ complaint to the state Education Department (SED).

The parents had filed a complaint with SED dated March 8, claiming the district failed to provide speech/language therapy services included in the student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program); the district specifically failed to provide speech/language therapy twice a week for 30 minutes between Sept. 7, 2017 and April 5 of this year, according to the settlement.

The settlement was approved May 3 by the Board of Education without discussion.

The school district provided a copy of the settlement to the Daily Sentinel upon request, with the names of the student and parents redacted.

The child lives in the district, and is identified as a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and state education law, the settlement said.

“To avoid the inconvenience, risk and expense associated with the complaint, the parents and the board agree to compromise and settle their disputes....,” said the settlement, signed by the parents and district Superintendent Peter C. Blake.

Under the settlement terms, the 25 hours of compensatory speech/language therapy for the student will be provided in 50 half-hour sessions including one additional session a week for the remainder of the current 2017-18 school year and one additional session a week during 2018-19 until 25 hours have been completed.

Therapy sessions shall not be scheduled on consecutive days unless agreed to by the parties.

The sessions shall be in addition to any sessions or service otherwise recommended by the district CSE (Committee on Special Education) as part of the student’s IEP.

Sessions will not be made up unless a session was missed because school was cancelled or the provider was unavailable.

The parents’ complaint with SED was to be withdrawn upon execution of the agreement.

The school district “does not admit any liability and its agreement hereto shall not be deemed an admission that parents have any cognizable claims,” the settlement added.