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Decision No. 13,061

Appeal of LEONARD AND SALLY BRADWAY on behalf of their son, George, against the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Glens Falls and Andrew Garuccio, Principal, relating to disciplinary action.

Decision No. 13,061

(December 8, 1993)

 

Bartlett, Pontiff, Stewart & Rhodes, P.C., Esqs., attorneys for respondent, Martin D. Auffredou, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioners appeal respondent board of education's refusal to initiate disciplinary action against respondent Garuccio for allegedly using corporal punishment against their son, George. The appeal must be dismissed.

On June 11, 1993, George and two other kindergarten students were found beating up another kindergarten student in the boy's bathroom. The three students were taken to the principal's office for discipline. Respondent Garuccio informed all three students that their behavior was unacceptable and violated school rules. He then placed George over his knee and stated "Do I have to spank you to stop fighting?" Respondent Garuccio then removed petitioners' son from his knee without spanking him.

On June 12, 1993, petitioners informed the superintendent that respondent Garuccio had spanked their son. The superintendent commenced an investigation. During the course of the investigation, George's kindergarten teacher advised the superintendent that petitioners had disclosed to her that George had not been spanked, just placed over the principal's knee. Based on that statement and a conversation with respondent Garuccio, the superintendent concluded that Garuccio had not used corporal punishment against George. Nevertheless, the superintendent placed a letter of counsel in Garuccio's file, reprimanding him for threatening students with corporal punishment and directing him to refrain from making such threats in the future. The superintendent concluded that more formal disciplinary action was unwarranted. A report of the incident was filed with the Commissioner of Education in accordance with 8 NYCRR '100.2(l)(3)(ii). This appeal followed.

Petitioners seek a hearing and further disciplinary action against respondent principal. Respondents contend there is no hearing requirement and that its decision to forego further disciplinary action was reasonable.

Concerning petitioners' demand for a hearing, formal disciplinary action against a tenured principal can only occur in the context of a proceeding brought pursuant to Education Law '3020-a. Therefore, I must address whether respondent abused its discretion in deciding not to bring '3020-a charges against Garuccio.

A board of education has broad discretion in determining whether disciplinary action is warranted (Appeal of Allert, 32 Ed Dept Rep 538; Appeal of Mitzner, 32 id. 15; Appeal of Magee, 30 id. 479). However, there must be a reasonable basis for concluding that disciplinary action is unwarranted (Appeal of Mitzner, supra; Appeal of Kantor, 31 Ed Dept Rep 319). In this case, there is no evidence in the record to support petitioners' allegations that the principal used corporal punishment against George. Accordingly, I conclude that respondent's decision not to pursue further disciplinary action was reasonable.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE