Decision No. 15,414
Appeal of TAMMI SMITH, on behalf of her daughter HAYLEY TRIPPY, from actions of the Board of Education of the Silver Creek Central School District, regarding a school policy.
Decision No. 15,414
Hodgson Russ, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Karl W. Kristoff, Esq., of counsel
MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals various actions of the Board of Education of the Silver Creek Central School District ("respondent") and its administration, and seeks removal of certain unnamed members of respondent and the dean of students. The appeal and application for removal must be dismissed.
At all times relevant to this appeal, petitioner's daughter, Hayley, attended sixth grade in respondent's middle school. By letter dated December 22, 2005, the parents of students in two sixth grade classes, including petitioner, were informed that their children's locker privileges would be suspended from January 3, 2006 to March 1, 2006 due to hall misconduct, tardiness and excessive noisiness.
In January 2006, petitioner spoke with the school principal, the dean of students, and the superintendent, to learn what her daughter had done wrong and to complain about the "discipline" imposed. Petitioner was concerned that the loss of locker privileges would mean students would have to carry book bags during the school day, impacting student safety.
On January 11, 2006, petitioner presented her concerns to respondent. On January 12, 2006, the principal informed petitioner that respondent supported the decision to suspend locker privileges.
By letter dated January 23, 2006, petitioner asked respondent a number of questions about her concerns. By letter dated February 9, 2006, the superintendent responded. This appeal ensued.
Petitioner alleges that respondent and its administrators failed to consider alternate forms of "discipline" and disregarded student safety, due process and respondent's code of conduct before temporarily discontinuing sixth grade students' locker privileges. Petitioner asks for the removal of board members who supported the decision. Petitioner also requests that I remove the dean of students and preclude him from holding a like position in the future. Finally, petitioner requests that the school principal and the superintendent be reprimanded.
Respondent alleges that the appeal is moot and fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
To the extent petitioner seeks the removal of board members and individual administrators, her application must be dismissed for failure to join necessary parties. A party whose rights would be adversely affected by a determination of an appeal in favor of a petitioner is a necessary party and must be joined as such (Appeal of D.B., 44 Ed Dept Rep 230, Decision No. 15,157; Appeal of R.M. and L.M., 44 id. 218, Decision No. 15,154; Appeal of Hoffman, 43 id. 160, Decision No. 14,953). Joinder requires that an individual be clearly named as a respondent in the caption and served with a copy of the notice of petition and petition to inform the individual that he or she should respond to the petition and enter a defense (Appeal of D.B., 44 Ed Dept Rep 230, Decision No. 15,157; Appeal of Hoffman, 43 id. 160, Decision No. 14,953).
Petitioner requests that I remove unnamed members of respondent and the dean of students. The rights of these individuals would clearly be affected if this relief was granted. None were named respondents in the caption of the petition or in the notice of petition, nor were they served with a copy of the notice of petition or the petition such that they would have been on notice that they were a party to the appeal and required to submit an answer. Therefore, the application for removal must be dismissed for failure to join necessary parties.
The appeal must also be dismissed to the extent petitioner requests that I reprimand the principal and the superintendent. The Education Law does not authorize the censure or reprimand of a board member or district staff by the Commissioner of Education (Appeal of Coleman, et al., 42 Ed Dept Rep 256, Decision No. 14,845).
The appeal must also be dismissed for failure to state a claim for relief with respect to respondent. Section 275.10 of the Commissioner's regulations requires in pertinent part that a petition "contain a clear and concise statement of petitioner's claim showing that petitioner is entitled to relief, and shall further contain a demand for the relief to which the petitioner deems himself entitled." The petition contains a demand for relief with respect to unnamed members of respondent and certain administrators. The petition does not contain a demand for any relief with respect to respondent. Accordingly, the petition with respect to respondent must be dismissed for failure to comply with �275.10 of the Commissioner's regulations.
In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties remaining contentions.
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
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