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S.C. v. Palo Alto Unified School District

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

June 2, 2014

S.C., a minor, by his parents, C.C. and S.C., as next friends, Plaintiff,
v.
PALO ALTO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [Re: Dkt. No. 11]

HOWARD R. LLOYD, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff S.C., by and through his parents, C.C. and S.C. (collectively, Parents), move for a preliminary injunction under the "stay put" provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1415(j). Defendant Palo Alto Unified School District (District) opposes the motion. All parties have expressly consented that all proceedings in this matter may be heard and finally adjudicated by the undersigned. 28 U.S.C. § 636(c); Fed.R.Civ.P. 73. Upon consideration of the moving and responding papers, as well as the arguments of counsel, the court grants the motion.

BACKGROUND

The underlying facts are largely undisputed.

S.C. is a 12-year old boy with Autism, eligible for special education services. According to the complaint, he has deficits in fine and visual motor skills, sensory processing, behavior, and speech and language, with a history of severe food allergies and pica behavior (i.e., mouthing or ingesting non-edible objects). (First Amended Complaint, Dkt. 8, ¶ 8).

S.C. resided in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District (Pajaro Valley) until early 2013 when he and his family moved to Palo Alto. He enrolled in the District in March 2013. Pajaro Valley and Palo Alto are located in separate Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs).

Parents provided the District with a copy of S.C.'s last agreed-upon individualized education program (IEP) implemented by Pajaro Valley. That IEP provided a home-based program consisting of:

• 15 hours per week of applied behavior analysis (ABA) instruction;
• 2 hours per week of supervision of the home ABA program;
• 2 hours per week of language and speech (LAS) therapy; and
• 2 hours per week of occupational therapy (OT).

The parties met, but could not agree upon S.C.'s 30-day interim placement - namely, whether his special education services would be provided at his home or at school. The District offered the same type and amount of services as those in S.C.'s prior IEP, but in an isolated classroom that S.C. could access without contacting other students. Parents wanted a home-based program that replicated the IEP implemented in Pajaro Valley.

The District later convened a regular IEP meeting in May 2013 to discuss S.C.'s final placement. The District proposed placing him in school with specialized academic instruction in a special day class at Terman Middle School; 30 minutes of group LAS twice per week; 30 minutes of individual LAS once per week; 60 minutes of individual OT per week; 90 minutes of individual behavior intervention services 5 times per week; and round trip transportation. Parents rejected the District's offer and said that they intended to provide S.C. with a privately-funded home-based program and to seek reimbursement from the District.

Shortly after, S.C. filed an administrative complaint, claiming that the District failed to offer a free and appropriate public education for the school years 2012-13 and 2013-14. Among other things, he argued that the District's 30-day interim placement offer violated IDEA's "stay put" requirements. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) ruled in the District's ...


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