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Decision No. 16,739

Appeal of A STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY, by his parent, from action of the Board of Education of the Putnam Valley Central School District regarding eligibility to participate in interscholastic athletics.

Decision No. 16,739

(April 9, 2015)

Shaw, Perelson, May & Lambert, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Garrett L. Silveira, Esq., of counsel.

BERLIN, Acting Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Putnam Valley Central School District (“respondent”) that his son is not eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics during the 2014-2015 school year.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner’s son is a student at respondent’s Putnam Valley High School.  Although the record is not entirely clear, it appears that petitioner’s son attended respondent’s high school during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years, during which he participated in interscholastic athletics in basketball and baseball.  He appears to have repeated his junior year during the 2013-2014 school year and, at some point, as the result of his mother’s death, he attended a private school for eight months that specialized in grief counseling.  He returned to respondent’s high school[1] and is attending there during the 2014-2015 school year.  In October 2014, respondent filed an application with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Section I Eligibility Committee (“Section I”) requesting that the student be granted an additional year of eligibility to participate in basketball and baseball during the 2014-2015 school year.  On November 19, 2014, Section I denied respondent’s request.[2]  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on January 6, 2015.

Petitioner requests that his son be granted an exception to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s (“NYSPHSAA”) athletic eligibility rule which allows a student to compete in interscholastic athletics in a sport for four consecutive seasons commencing with his/her enrollment in ninth grade.[3]  Petitioner requests that his son be permitted to participate in basketball and baseball during 2014-2015 school year. 

Respondent argues that it is not a proper party to this proceeding because it did not make the eligibility determination for petitioner’s son.  Respondent, therefore, contends that the appeal should be dismissed for failure to join a necessary party – specifically, Section I, which made the determination to deny petitioner’s son an extended year of athletic eligibility during the 2014-2015 school year. 

The appeal must be dismissed for failure to join Section I as a respondent.  A party whose rights would be adversely affected by a determination of an appeal in favor of a petitioner is a necessary party and must be joined as such (Appeal of Murray, 48 Ed Dept Rep 517, Decision No. 15,934; Appeal of Miller, 48 id. 465, Decision No. 15,917; Appeal of Williams, 48 id. 343, Decision No. 15,879).  Joinder requires that an individual be clearly named as a respondent in the caption and served with a copy of the notice of petition and petition to inform the individual that he or she should respond to the petition and enter a defense (Appeal of Murray, 48 Ed Dept Rep 517, Decision No. 15,934; Appeal of Miller, 48 id. 465, Decision No. 15,917; Appeal of Williams, 48 id. 343, Decision No. 15,879).  In this case, Section I made the determination at issue denying petitioner’s son extended athletic eligibility, not respondent, so a decision reversing its determination requires its joinder as a party to this appeal.  Because petitioner failed to join Section I, the appeal must be dismissed (see Appeal of J.P.S., 53 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 16,614; Appeal of M.K., 48 id. 460, Decision No. 15,915; Appeal of Bartling, 35 id. 324, Decision No. 13,558).

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE

 

 

[1] The record is not clear whether his attendance at the private school occurred during the 2012-2013 or 2013-2014 school year.

 

 

[2] Section I’s denial states that respondent’s request was for baseball only.

 

 

[3] The rule implements Commissioner’s regulation 8 NYCRR §135.4(c)(7)(ii)(b)(1).