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Decision No. 16,493

 

 Appeal of DELLA MARIE LENZ from action of the Board of Education of the Irvington Union Free School District regarding a prohibition on volunteering.

Decision No. 16,493

(July 1, 2013)

Ingerman Smith, L.L.P., attorneys for respondent, Emily J. Lucas and Alessandro Bianchi, Esqs., of counsel

KING, JR., Commissioner--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Irvington Union Free School District(“respondent”) to prohibit her from participating as a parent volunteer at its Main Street School (“school”). The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner is the parent of three children in respondent’s district. On March 21, 2012, petitioner had a meeting with respondent’s superintendent and the school principal about her “behavior” at an event known as “Pizza Friday.” Specifically, it appears from the record that petitioner possessed a smoking cessation device called an atomizer at this event, and she referred to this device asa “crackpipe” in front of students. In addition, it appears that there were rumors that students, including petitioner’s son, were smoking petitioner’s atomizer behind the school. The purpose of the March 21 meeting was to discuss these issues.

By letter dated March 22, 2012, respondent’s superintendent, among other things, notified petitioner that she was “disappointed” in petitioner’s behavior, and that a decision had been made that for the remainder of the school year, petitioner would not be allowed to “participate as a parent volunteer at Main Street School. ”Petitioner appealed this decision to respondent which, it appears, denied her appeal. This appeal ensued.

Petitioner contends that respondent had no basis to impose the penalty that it did, and she argues that its actions in the matter were arbitrary and capricious. In addition, petitioner maintains that she had no “advanced knowledge” that the meeting she was called to on March 21,2012 was a “disciplinary hearing” and, thus, she claims her due process rights were violated. Petitioner requests that she be allowed to continue to volunteer at the school for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year, and that

respondent “expunge” any disciplinary file that it maintains concerning her.

Respondent contends that the March 21 meeting was not a “disciplinary hearing,” that petitioner has no property interest in volunteering at its schools, and that it does not maintain “disciplinary files” on parents. Respondent, therefore, denies petitioner’s contentions and maintains that its actions in this matter were “reasonable under the circumstances and limited in scope.” Respondent also argues that petitioner’s appeal is moot.

The appeal must be dismissed, in part, as moot. The Commissioner will only decide matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 Ed Dept Rep 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937; Appeal of Embro, 48 id. 204, Decision No. 15,836). Here, petitioner seeks to volunteer at the school for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year. However, since the 2011-2012 school year has ended, such relief cannot be awarded. Accordingly, to the extent that petitioner seeks an order allowing her to volunteer in the 2011-2012 school year, her claim is moot.

The only other relief petitioner seeks is expungement of her “disciplinary file.” Respondent indicates that it does not maintain disciplinary files on parents. Petitioner submits no reply or other evidence to the contrary. Accordingly, I am unable to find on the record before me that there is anything to expunge, and petitioner’s claim must be dismissed.

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

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE