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Decision No. 16,121

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Appeal of G.I., on behalf of her daughter K.I., from action of the Board of Education of the North Babylon Union Free School District regarding student discipline.

Decision No. 16,121

(August 9, 2010)

Guercio & Guercio, LLP, attorneys for respondents, Gary L. Steffanetta, Esq., of counsel

STEINER, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the North Babylon Union Free School District (“respondent”) affirming the in-school suspension of her daughter, K.I.  The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2009-2010 school year, K.I. was a student at respondent’s elementary school.  On January 20, 2010, another student, C.H., reported to the school principal that K.I. and D.N. were going to have a “fist fight” with her during recess.  The threatened “fist fight” allegedly involved a dispute over K.I.’s and D.N.’s reported publication of inappropriate statements about C.H. on C.H.’s “facebook” page.

On January 21, 2010, the principal questioned seven girls and K.I. regarding the threatened fight and facebook posting.  K.I. initially admitted to participating in the conduct, but later gave conflicting statements.  K.I. also admitted to her teacher that she and D.N. had C.H.’s facebook password and that they posted the derogatory statements.  The principal notified petitioner by letter that K.I. would be removed from her classroom, for one day, Friday, January 22, 2010, and would spend the day under the supervision of an administrator.

On January 21, 2010, the principal met with K.I.’s father and again spoke with him by phone on January 22, 2010.  On Monday January 25, 2010, petitioner met with the principal to discuss her concerns.  On January 26, 2010, petitioner and K.I.’s father met with the superintendent to discuss the incidents and the superintendent advised them that he supported the principal’s decision.  Petitioner appealed the superintendent’s determination to respondent.  By letter dated March 10, 2010, respondent denied her appeal.  This appeal ensued.

Petitioner alleges that a physical altercation never took place and that the principal lacked jurisdiction to suspend K.I. for the facebook posting that transpired outside of school.  Petitioner contends that district policy was not followed because the principal failed to investigate the facts and K.I. was not given the opportunity to explain.  Petitioner contends that the superintendent was unprofessional and that her daughter was not guilty of cyber-bullying.  Petitioner requests that the disciplinary letter be expunged from K.I.’s educational record and seeks an apology for alleged unfair treatment and an investigation into the superintendent’s conduct.

Respondent alleges that petitioner has failed to meet her burden to establish a clear legal right to the relief requested or to introduce sufficient facts to require an investigation of the superintendent.

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).

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).

Petitioner has failed to show that either K.I. or her parents were denied a fair opportunity to discuss K.I.’s in-school suspension with the principal.  The record reveals that K.I., her father and petitioner met with the principal to discuss the threatened fight and the facebook posting, and the discipline was reviewed by the superintendent and respondent.  The procedures followed were fair and I find no basis to overturn respondent’s decision.

Finally, petitioner’s request that I order an investigation must be denied.  An appeal to the Commissioner is appellate in nature and does not provide for investigations (Application of V.M., 46 Ed Dept Rep 531, Decision No. 15,584; Appeal of Koehler, 46 id. 425, Decision No. 15,553).

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

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE.