Skip to main content

Decision No. 13,981

Appeal of CLAIRE-LOUISE and MATTHEW T. MENG, on behalf of their daughter, MARIE-LOUISE, from action of the Board of Education of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District, regarding educational placement.

Decision No. 13,981

(August 5, 1998)

Edward T. Robinson III, Esq., attorney for respondent

CATE, Acting Commissioner.--Petitioners appeal the refusal of the Board of Education of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District ("respondent") to allow their daughter to advance directly from the seventh grade to the ninth grade for the 1997-98 school year. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioners' daughter, Marie-Louise, was a seventh grade student during the 1996-97 school year. Although she attended respondent's middle school for most of her academic subjects, she was bused to its high school to take math and science at a more advanced level. She also took physical education at the high school. On June 26, 1997 Marie-Louise wrote a letter, endorsed by her parents, to respondent's superintendent requesting that she be allowed to skip the eighth grade entirely and advance to ninth grade at the high school for the 1997-98 school year. By letter dated July 11, 1997 the superintendent denied that request. On August 15, 1997 petitioners wrote to respondent requesting Marie-Louise's advancement. By letter dated August 26, 1997, the superintendent informed petitioners that respondent had considered their request and had decided to uphold his original decision. Petitioners commenced this appeal on August 25, 1997 and sought an interim order directing that Marie-Louise be placed in the ninth grade, which was denied on September 4, 1997.

Petitioners allege that Marie-Louise is not being sufficiently challenged academically at the middle school and that the educational methods used at that school are inadequate. They contend that it would be better for Marie-Louise, both academically and socially, to advance to full-time instruction at the high school. Respondent contends that its decision was rational and was not arbitrary or capricious.

The appeal must be dismissed as moot. The Commissioner will not render a decision where the facts upon which the claim is based no longer exist. Since the 1997-98 school year is over and the only relief petitioners sought was placement for that school year, the matter has become moot (Appeal of Laudin, 37 Ed Dept Rep 3; Appeal of Kline, 35 id. 91; Appeal of Doris J., 31 id. 153). Furthermore, it is clear that no meaningful relief is now possible (Appeal of Stopka, 34 Ed Dept Rep 157; Appeal of Winkler, 33 id. 334). Accordingly, this matter is academic and I will not reach the merits of respondent's decision.