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Decision No. 15,689

Appeal of EDWARD J. ERICKSON from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Norwich relating to assignment of grades and award of credit.

Decision No. 15,689

(November 23, 2007)

Hogan, Sarzynski, Lynch, Surowka & DeWind, LLP, attorneys for respondent, John P. Lynch, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the decision of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Norwich ("respondent") to grant course credit for a global history and geography course to a district student.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner, a global studies teacher in respondent’s high school, taught a particular unnamed student (hereinafter “the student”) in his global history and geography I and II classes.  The student failed to earn a passing grade in petitioner’s classes.  However, the student earned a grade of 75% on the June 2007 New York State Regents examination.  Based on respondent’s alternative method for granting course credit, on June 19, 2007, respondent granted the student one course credit for global history and geography I.  This appeal ensued.

Petitioner claims that respondent’s policy constitutes “credit by examination” and violates §100.5(d)(1) of the Commissioner’s regulations.  Petitioner asserts that he has suffered “personal and professional damage” because of respondent’s decision awarding course credit to the student.  Petitioner requests that I order respondent to cease and desist from issuing course credit under the aforementioned policy.

Respondent contends that the appeal must be dismissed because the appeal is untimely and because petitioner lacks standing and has failed to join the student as a necessary party.  Respondent also asserts that its decision to award course credit is permissible because Education Law §§1709(3) and 2503(1) and (4)(c) authorize a board of education to prescribe courses of study by which its pupils are graded and classified.

Respondent requests that I ignore petitioner’s reply, because it serves no purpose other than to buttress petitioner’s prior allegations.  The purpose of a reply is to respond to new material or affirmative defenses set forth in an answer (8 NYCRR §§275.3 and 275.14).  A reply is not meant to buttress allegations in the petition or to belatedly add assertions that should have been in the petition (Appeal of E.R., 45 Ed Dept Rep 487, Decision No. 15,389; Appeal of Ramroop, 45 id. 473, Decision No. 15,385; Appeal of C.R., 45 id. 303, Decision No 15,330).  Therefore, while I have reviewed the reply, I have not considered those portions containing new allegations or exhibits that are not responsive to new material or affirmative defenses set forth in the answer.

     An individual may not maintain an appeal pursuant to Education Law §310 unless aggrieved in the sense that he or she has suffered personal damage or injury to his or her civil, personal or property rights (Appeal of Ramroop, 45 Ed Dept Rep 473, Decision No. 15,385; Appeal of Samuel, 45 id. 418, Decision No. 15,371; Appeal of Hubbard, 45 id. 266, Decision No. 15,316).  Only persons who are directly affected by the action being appealed have standing to bring an appeal (Appeal of Ramroop, 45 Ed Dept Rep 473, Decision No. 15,385; Appeal of Samuel, 45 id. 418, Decision No. 15,371; Appeal of Hubbard, 45 id. 266, Decision No. 15,316).

     Petitioner has failed to establish that he has been personally aggrieved by respondent’s actions.  Petitioner alleges that on June 19, 2007, he suffered “personal and professional damage” when respondent awarded course credit to the student.  Petitioner contends that respondent’s actions “negated” his status as a permanently certified teacher and his responsibility to assign grades that “accurately” reflect student performance.  There is no evidence that petitioner’s teaching certification has been affected.  Decisions regarding student grading rest initially with the classroom teacher and ultimately with the board of education (Appeal of B.M., 46 Ed Dept Rep ___, Decision No. 15,592; Appeal of Shaver, 38 id. Rep 570, Decision No. 14,096; Appeal of Krom, 37 id. 459, Decision No. 13,905).  Respondent’s granting of course credit to the student is not the result of a failure on petitioner’s part to assign accurate grades, but is instead the result of respondent applying its policy.  Since petitioner has not been injured by respondent’s actions, petitioner lacks standing to bring this appeal.  Accordingly, the appeal must be dismissed for lack of standing.

     In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.

     THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE