Decision No. 16,069
Appeal of Y.W., on behalf of her son J.H., from action of the Board of Education of the East Meadow Union Free School District regarding student discipline.
Decision No. 16,069
(May 26, 2010)
Jaspan Schlesinger LLP, attorneys for respondent, Carol A. Melnick, Esq., of counsel
Petitioner appeals the suspension of her son, J.H., by the Board of Education of the East Meadow Union Free School District (“respondent”). The appeal must be dismissed.
During the 2009-2010 school year, J.H. was a student at respondent’s middle school. On October 23, 2009, J.H. attended a supervised recreational night at the middle school, at which petitioner was a chaperone. During the course of the evening, J.H. was involved in a physical altercation with another student. The assistant principal asked petitioner to take J.H. home and invited her to an informal conference at the middle school on October 26, 2009.
On October 26, the principal met with petitioner and J.H. to discuss the matter. By letter dated that same day, the principal notified petitioner that J.H. was to serve a one day in-school suspension for disorderly conduct that occurred on October 23, 2009. In two separate letters, petitioner requested that J.H.’s record be expunged. By letter dated November 4, 2009, the principal notified petitioner that if J.H. completed the 2009-2010 school year without further incident, the suspension letter would be removed from his file. This appeal ensued.
Petitioner argues that the district violated Education Law §3214(3)(b) and Commissioner’s regulation §100.2(l)(4) and requests that the in-school suspension be expunged from J.H.’s record. Respondent maintains that the suspension was proper, that it did not violate the law or regulation and that it afforded petitioner and J.H. procedural fairness.
Initially, I must address respondent’s objection to petitioner’s reply. 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 a Student with a Disability, 46 Ed Dept Rep 540, Decision No. 15,589; Appeal of E.P. and D.P., 46 id. 390, Decision No. 15,542; Appeals of Cass, et al., 46 id. 321, Decision No 15,521). 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.
In-school suspensions and suspensions from extracurricular activities are not governed by Education Law §3214 and do not require a full hearing (Appeal of G.H.L., 46 Ed Dept Rep 571, Decision No. 15,598; Appeal of R.C. and D.C., 46 id. 447, Decision No. 15,560; Appeal of Y.P. and S.P., 46 id. 445, Decision No. 15,559). Procedures governing in-school suspensions and suspensions from extracurricular privileges need only be fair and give students and parents an opportunity to discuss the conduct being reviewed with the person or body authorized to impose the discipline (Appeal of G.H.L., 46 Ed Dept Rep 571, Decision No. 15,598; Appeal of R.C. and D.C., 46 id. 447, Decision No. 15,560; Appeal of Y.P. and S.P., 46 id. 445, Decision No. 15,559).
Petitioner has failed to show that she was denied a fair opportunity to discuss J.H.’s suspension with the principal. The record reveals that the principal invited petitioner and J.H. to meet on the morning of October 26 to discuss the October 23 incident. That morning, after interviewing a staff member who witnessed the incident, two other students witnesses and the other student involved in the incident, the principal and assistant principal informally met with petitioner and J.H. and gave them the opportunity to explain their side of the story. The principal then determined that J.H. was guilty of disorderly conduct and that the appropriate penalty would be a one day in-school suspension to begin directly after the end of the meeting and to conclude at the end of the school day. That same day, petitioner received a suspension letter, indicating that J.H. had received a one day in-school suspension. In an appeal to the Commissioner, a petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested and the burden of establishing the facts upon which petitioner seeks relief (8 NYCRR §275.10; Appeal of Brown, 46 Ed Dept Rep 584, Decision No. 15,602; Appeals of Hubbard, 46 id. 533, Decision No. 15,585; Appeal of Darrow, 46 id. 182, Decision No. 15,477). In light of the foregoing, I find that petitioner has failed to demonstrate that she was denied a fair opportunity to discuss J.W.’s suspension with the principal. On the record before me, I find no basis to overturn respondent’s decision.
In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
END Of FILE