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Decision No. 15,464

Appeal of P.C. and B.C., on behalf of their son R.C., from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Rye and Edward J. Shine, Superintendent, regarding exclusion from school.


Decision No. 15,464


(August 29, 2006)


Stewart L. Orden, Esq., attorney for petitioners


Shaw & Perelson, LLP, attorneys for respondents, Margo L. May, Esq., of counsel


Petitioners challenge the decision of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Rye and its superintendent (“respondents”) to exclude their son, R.C., from Rye High School for the 2005-2006 school year.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioners and R.C. reside outside of the City School District of the City of Rye.  During the 2004-2005 school year, R.C. was a tuition-paying ninth grade student at Rye High School.

On March 23, 2005, R.C. was suspended from school because of an alleged disciplinary infraction.  On May 4, 2005, petitioners commenced an Article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court, Westchester County, to challenge that action.  The proceeding was settled by stipulation dated June 21, 2005, which provided that the school disciplinary charges would be dismissed with prejudice, the suspension would be withdrawn with prejudice, R.C. would be permitted to return to school immediately, and the Article 78 proceeding would be withdrawn with prejudice.  In addition, the stipulation provided: “All matters relating to this action including any and all charges and documents relating thereto are expunged from any and all educational records relating to [R.C.].”

Approximately one month later, by letter dated July 18, 2005, the superintendent determined that R.C. was no longer a student in good standing in the school district, and further stated: “I must inform you that [R.C.] will not be accepted back as a non-resident tuition student for the 2005-2006 school year.”

On August 8, 2005, petitioners commenced a second Article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court, Westchester County, against respondents.  The Court issued a temporary restraining order requiring that R.C. be permitted to return to school.  The Article 78 proceeding was ultimately dismissed on January 3, 2006, at which time the temporary restraining order ceased.

On January 17, 2006, the superintendent again wrote to petitioners.  He advised that he intended to implement the July 18, 2005 determination to refuse admission to R.C. for the 2005-2006 school year.  He further advised that R.C. would be permitted to finish the first semester, which ended on January 27, 2006.

Petitioners commenced this appeal on January 23, 2006, and requested an interim order allowing R.C. to stay at Rye High School.  On January 26, petitioners appealed the dismissal of their Article 78 proceeding to the Appellate Division, Second Department, which issued a temporary restraining order keeping R.C. in school that same day.  On February 17, 2006, the Appellate Division granted a preliminary injunction.

On July 5, 2006, the Appellate Division rendered a decision in which it found that the superintendent’s July 18, 2005 determination that R.C. was not a student in good standing was based, at least in part, on material that the superintendent was foreclosed from considering by the stipulation dated June 21, 2005.  The court therefore annulled that determination, which is the subject of this �310 appeal.  The court further ordered that the matter be remitted for a new determination by the superintendent or his designee to be made on the basis of evidence other than that which respondents had agreed to expunge in the June 21, 2005, stipulation.

     As a result, the appeal must be dismissed as moot.  The Commissioner will only decide matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of B.K. and R.K., 44 Ed Dept Rep 195, Decision No. 15,146; Appeal of V.L., 44 id. 160, Decision No. 15,132; Appeal of Garvin, 44 id. 30, Decision No. 15,087).  This appeal is moot on two grounds.  First, the determination which it challenges has been annulled by the Appellate Division, Second Department.  Additionally, the July 18, 2005, determination expressly pertained only to the 2005-2006 school year, which has ended.