Skip to main content

Decision No. 12,738

Appeal of A CHILD WITH A HANDICAPPING CONDITION from action of Walter Gobel, senior high school principal in the Wappingers Central School District, regarding requests for medical information.

Decision No. 12,738

(July 2, 1992)

Raymond G. Kruse, P.C., attorney for respondent, Raymond G.

Kruse, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner seeks an opinion regarding certain requests that respondent allegedly made for medical documentation of her son's absences from school. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner's son is epileptic and has been classified as having a handicapping condition by the school district's committee on special education (CSE). As a result of the pupil's repeated absences from school, but prior to his referral to the CSE for evaluation, respondent apparently requested that petitioner provide documentation from a physician to support her assertion that the pupil's absences were due to his medical condition. Although petitioner is unclear, it appears that she is claiming that respondent required that the pupil be examined daily by his physician to document the fact that his absences were due to his medical condition. Petitioner asks whether the principal's actions were appropriate.

Initially, I note that, although petitioner seeks review of respondent Gobel's actions in this appeal, she failed to serve him with a copy of the petition as required by '275.8(a) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. Therefore, the appeal must be dismissed on procedural grounds.

Even if the appeal were not procedurally defective, it must be dismissed for failure to state a claim. Petitioner offers no proof to support her allegations that respondent required daily medical examinations of her son or that the pupil was required to see his neurologist each time he had a seizure in order to "justify his absenteeism".

Respondent asserts that, although medical substantiation was required due to the extent of this pupil's absences (53 absences in a five month period), daily examinations were not required. Therefore, in addition to the procedural defects discussed above, petitioner has not established that respondent acted unreasonably in requesting medical documentation of the reasons for her son's continuous absences. Indeed, it is entirely proper and necessary for school officials to require documentation of the reasons for a pupil's absences in order to fulfill the school district's responsibility under the compulsory education law (Education Law '3205).