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Decision No. 14,955

Appeal of V.D., on behalf of C.L., from action of the Board of Education of the Salmon River Central School District regarding student discipline.


Decision No. 14,955


(September 17, 2003)


Poissant, Nichols & Grue, P.C., attorneys for petitioner, Kevin F. Nichols, Esq., of counsel 

Cappello, Linden & Ladouceur, Esqs., attorneys for respondent, Roger B. Linden, Esq., of counsel 

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the suspension of her granddaughter, C.L., by the Board of Education of the Salmon River Central School District ("respondent").  The appeal must be dismissed.

On February 26, 2003, C.L. was suspended for five days for fighting in school.  By letter dated March 3, 2003, respondent"s secondary principal notified C.L."s mother, who resides outside respondent"s district, that because C.L. did not reside in the district, she would not be permitted to return to school there.  On or about March 12, 2003, C.L."s parents transferred legal custody of C.L. to petitioner.

Upon receipt of the custodial information, the district re-enrolled C.L., placing her on in-school suspension, and on March 14, 2003 notified petitioner that a superintendent"s hearing would be held March 20, 2003 regarding the February 26 altercation.  At the hearing, C.L. did not contest the charge of fighting with another student.  On March 24, 2003, the superintendent suspended C.L. for an additional 20 days.  Petitioner appealed the superintendent"s determination to respondent which upheld the suspension, and this appeal ensued.  Petitioner"s request for interim relief was denied on April 28, 2003.

Petitioner contends that C.L. was improperly suspended for more than five days without a hearing when C.L. was not permitted to return to school on March 5, 2003.  Petitioner further contends that C.L."s suspension for 20 additional days improperly caused her to be disciplined twice for the same offense.  Petitioner raises several procedural complaints in connection with the superintendent"s hearing and challenges the suspension period as excessive.

Respondent asserts that it complied with all procedural requirements of Education Law "3214 and maintains that the suspension was not excessive.

The appeal must be dismissed as moot.  The Commissioner of Education only decides matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exists or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of L.D. and M.D., 43 Ed Dept Rep ___, Decision No. 14,947; Appeal of M.N., 42 id. ___, Decision No. 14,833; Appeal of Deborah F., 42 id. ___, Decision No. 14,813).  Petitioner requests that her granddaughter be permitted to return to school but does not seek expungement of C.L."s records.  Since the 2002-2003 school year has ended and C.L. has served the suspension, petitioner"s request for relief is moot (Appeal of L.D. and M.D., supra; Appeal of E.F., 42 Ed Dept Rep ___, Decision No. 14,762; Appeal of R.R. and K.R., 41 id. 405, Decision No. 14,726).

In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties" remaining contentions.