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Decision No. 13,513

Appeal of BETTY BREWER, on behalf of her son, JASON BURROWS, from action of the Board of Education of the Angelica Central School District regarding student eligibility.

Decision No. 13,513

(November 11, 1995)

Leslie J. Haggstrom, Esq., attorney for petitioner

Williams & Brown, Esqs., attorneys for respondent, Thomas P. Brown, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals respondent's refusal to allow her son to participate in his senior class trip. The appeal must be dismissed.

Jason was a senior attending respondent's high school during the 1994-1995 school year. On or about March 31, 1995, respondent placed Jason on academic suspension because of failing grades in his English 12 class. By letter dated April 18, 1995, the school advised petitioner that her son would not be allowed to go on the senior class trip scheduled for May 11, 1995, because he remained on academic suspension and had failed to maintain a weekly average of at least 65.

This appeal was commenced on May 6, 1995, to obtain an order of the Commissioner allowing Jason to participate in the class trip. In the alternative, petitioner sought a sum of money from the senior class treasury equal to the amount expended for each student who did go on the trip. By letter dated May 11, 1995, Commissioner Sobol declined to issue a stay order.

Because the senior class trip has already taken place, the appeal must be dismissed as moot. It is well settled that the Commissioner of Education will determine only matters in actual controversy and will not ordinarily render a decision upon a state of facts that no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of Stopka, 34 Ed Dept Rep 157; Appeal of Langenmayr, 30 id. 322; Appeal of Hmiel, 30 id. 86; Appeal of Graham, 29 id. 283).

Moreover, the Commissioner lacks the authority to grant the alternative relief sought by petitioner. It is well established that the Commissioner of Education has no authority to award damages (Appeal of Martin, 32 Ed Dept Rep 381; Appeal of Warren, 25 id. 403; Matter of Milton, 22 id. 614; Matter of Pollnow, 21 id. 291; Matter of a Handicapped Child, 20 id. 7).

I have reviewed petitioner's remaining contentions and find them without merit.



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