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Lowell Schools Fight Kemper in Court

November 28, 2018

LOWELL -- The School Department is clashing with a language-learning disability specialist in court over a special-education appeal, according to documents filed in Middlesex County Superior Court.

In September, Lowell Public Schools filed a civil complaint against Dr. Robert Kemper, director of Psycholinguistic Associates in Stratham, N.H.

The complaint centers on a special-education appeal filed by the parent of a Lowell student, who Kemper said is seeking about five hours of after-school tutoring each week for help with reading challenges related to dyslexia.

Jane Mosher-Canty, the attorney representing the district, declined to comment on the case, citing student privacy.

Her filing alleges Kemper, an expert hired by the student’s parent, did not share documentation of the student’s test results, called protocols.

The district requested these documents for a hearing in front of the Bureau of Special Education Appeals.

The parent declined to copy the materials according to the filing and Kemper said, as these documents are written in pencil, he does not allow people to inspect this type of test unless he is present.

In a court filing, the district requested the enforcement of the subpoena for the documents and reimbursement for efforts to obtain them.

The Bureau of Special Education Appeals has approved delaying its hearing while the case moves through the court system. Currently the superior court case is still pending.

In a response filed Nov. 1, Kemper said he has tried to accommodate the district and accused the district’s attorney of using this civil complaint as a delay tactic.

“To be blunt, I sincerely believe that Attorney Mosher-Canty is attempting to use the protocol issue as a ruse for her continuing to delay the due process hearing,” he wrote.

“Finally, I will say in all my years of performing evaluations and appearing in due process hearings, I have never seen such dastardly doings as I have with the Lowell Public Schools.”

He said he went to Lowell to show the documents to the district, but found when he arrived Mosher-Canty had canceled the meeting for a “medical emergency.” According to Kemper, a representative from the district said they would contact him about viewing the documents. Kemper said he was later told he “misunderstood,” which he denied citing his training as a speech and language pathologist to never misinterpret spoken information.

In an interview with the Sun, he said the appeal to the parent’s request is unusual as the disagreement is over tutoring, a relatively low-cost service.

“It would cost (the district) more if they actually went to a due process hearing,” he said.

In his 30 years of experience, Kemper said most appeals concern issues like out-of-district placements, which can easily cost districts over $50,000 a year.

While the proceedings continue, Kemper said the student is not getting the requested services and the window of learning is passing.

“Kids grow up real fast,” he said.

Follow Elizabeth Dobbins on Twitter @ElizDobbins

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