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Decision No. 13,076

Appeal of ANDREA STRADA, on behalf of her son James, from action of the Board of Education of the Niskayuna Central School District regarding exclusion from graduation.

Decision No. 13,076

(December 31, 1993)

Eidens and Dickson, attorneys for petitioner, Michael C. Eidens, Esq., of counsel

Higgins, Roberts, Beyerl & Coan, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Robert Coan, Esq., of counsel

SOSBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges respondent Niskayuna Central School District's exclusion of her son, James, from his high school graduation ceremony. The appeal must be dismissed.

James Strada was a member of the class of 1993 at respondent's high school. During his high school career, James failed to attend numerous classes and was assigned detention periods. In early June 1993, the administration informed both James and his parents that if the detention periods were not completed by graduation, James would be excluded from the ceremonies. On June 15, James' father requested a hearing on the matter before the superintendent.

Petitioner subsequently commenced this appeal, claiming that the school's conduct and disciplinary code did not authorize exclusion from graduation because of failure to attend classes. On June 21, that same evening, the superintendent held a hearing and affirmed the prior decision to bar James from the ceremony. The petition was never amended to challenge the superintendent's final determination, so the only relief sought in the matter before me is a stay to allow James to attend the graduation ceremony. Respondent's answer to the petition was filed on June 24, and I denied the request for a stay that same day. The graduation ceremony was held on the evening of June 24.

The appeal must now be dismissed. It is well settled that the Commissioner will decide only matters which are in actual controversy (Appeal of Canazon, 33 Ed Dept Rep 124; Appeal of Impellizzeri and Petrides, 32 id. 26; Appeal of DiMilia, 30 id. 391; Appeal of Sileo, 28 id. 313). Since the graduation ceremony at issue has been concluded and since petitioner has sought no relief other than an interim order which has already been denied, I will not address the merits of respondent's decision.