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Decision No. 13,665

Appeal of FRANK SAMUELS, on behalf of TAMARA SAMUELS, from action of the Board of Education of the Cornwall Central School District regarding student discipline.

Decision No. 13,665

(August 28, 1996)

Scott and Hoyt, attorneys for respondent, Julius Larkin Hoyt, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the actions of the Board of Education of the Cornwall Central School District ("respondent") regarding the suspension of his daughter, Tamara. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner alleges that respondent suspended Tamara for five days for drinking alcohol on a school bus trip, a charge which petitioner contends Tamara "vehemently denies." This appeal ensued. Petitioner seeks to have all record of the suspension expunged. In its answer, respondent admits the alleged suspension and raises no defenses.

In an appeal to the Commissioner, the petitioner has the burden of establishing the facts upon which he or she seeks relief (8 NYCRR 275.10; Appeal of Nash, 35 Ed Dept Rep 203; Appeal of Haff, 35 id. 130) and the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested (Appeal of Nash, supra; Appeal of DiMicelli, 28 Ed Dept Rep 327; Appeal of Amoia, 28 id. 150). In this case, petitioner merely states that his daughter denies the charges, and although petitioner attached a copy of his letter to the board of education in which he described Tamara's version of the events, he fails to provide any supporting evidence or a basis for his right to the relief requested. Where, as here, petitioner is not represented by counsel, a liberal interpretation of the requirements of the regulations is appropriate, particularly where there is no evidence of prejudice to the respondent (Appeal of Roxbury Taxpayers Alliance, 34 Ed Dept Rep 576; Appeal of Moessinger, 34 id. 246). However, while I understand petitioner's concern over his daughter's record, I cannot entertain reversing a school district's decision without a legal basis for relief and evidence of a right to the relief requested. Therefore, I am constrained to find that petitioner has failed to sustain his burden of proof on this claim.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

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