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Decision No. 16,561

 

 Appeal of a STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY,by her parents, from action of the Board of Education of the Bethpage Union Free School District regarding graduation.

Decision No. 16,561

(October 4, 2013)

Fine, Fine & Associates, LLP, attorneys for petitioners, Scott J. Fine, Esq., of counsel

Jaspan Schlesinger LLP, attorneys for respondent, Michael

D. Raniere, Esq., of counsel

KING, JR., Commissioner.--Petitioners appeal the refusal of the Board of Education of the Bethpage Union Free School District (“respondent”) to permit their daughter to participate in its graduation ceremonies. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioners’ daughter attended respondent’s high school during the 2012-2013 school year and received certain accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §794 (“Section 504”).Respondent’s District Policy #4770 provides that “participation in the graduation exercises will be predicated on satisfactory completion of all graduation requirements.” During the 2012-2013 school year, the principal expressed concern regarding the student’s attendance, and her report cards reflected her poor attendance and daily grades. In a March 2013 letter, the principal and vice-principal advised petitioners that their daughter, then a senior, might not graduate due to poor attendance and failing grades. By email dated June 7,2013, petitioners were notified that their daughter would not be permitted to graduate and would be required to attend summer school. The email also indicated that she would not be permitted to participate in the district’s graduation ceremonies. By email dated June 11, 2013, the district reiterated its decision that petitioners’ daughter would not be permitted to participate in the graduation

ceremonies, based on district policy. This appeal ensued. Petitioners’ request for interim relief was denied on June21, 2013.

Petitioners allege that the district policy is discretionary and that respondent is arbitrary and capricious in not permitting their daughter to attend its graduation ceremonies. Petitioners further contend that district staff ignored their daughter’s requests to make up course work or provide her with the means to sufficiently raise her grades. Petitioners maintain that the district failed to advise their daughter of her grades and to provide her with accommodations pursuant to her Section 504plan. Petitioners assert that respondent’s actions are arbitrary and capricious and request that their daughter be permitted to participate in graduation exercises with her class on June 21, 2013.

Respondent alleges that the appeal is moot and that the petition fails to state a legal basis upon which relief can be granted. Respondent contends that its actions are reasonable.

The appeal must be dismissed 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). The only relief requested by petitioners is that their daughter be permitted to attend and participate in graduation exercises on June 21, 2013. Petitioners’ request for interim relief was denied on June 21, 2013, and the graduation ceremonies were conducted later that day. Consequently, the appeal is moot.

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

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED. END OF FILE