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Decision No. 15,746

Appeal of A.S., on behalf of C.S., from action of the Board of Education of the Valley Stream Central High School District regarding student discipline.

Decision No. 15,746

(April 25, 2008)

Guercio & Guercio, attorneys for respondent, John P. Sheahan and Tara E. Kahn, Esqs., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the decision of the Board of Education of the Valley Stream Central High School District (“respondent”) to suspend her son, C.S., for three days.  The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2006-2007 school year, C.S. was a student at respondent’s Memorial Junior High School (“Memorial”).  On or about February 28, 2007, C.S. was involved in an altercation with another district student.  It is undisputed that this altercation took place both after school hours and off school property.  Nonetheless, Memorial’s principal found that there was a sufficient nexus between the altercation and the school and decided to impose a three-day suspension against C.S.

Originally, C.S. was scheduled to begin serving his suspension on March 2, 2007.  The suspension, however, was held in abeyance several times pending various appeals.  On June 13, 2007, respondent denied petitioner’s last appeal and determined that C.S. should serve his suspension on September 10, 11 and 12, 2007.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on August 14, 2007.

Petitioner does not dispute that C.S. was involved in an altercation with another student.  Rather, petitioner argues that her son’s suspension should be “dismissed” for various reasons.  In particular, petitioner claims that that respondent’s disciplinary code does not authorize it to discipline students for off-campus conduct, and that respondent violated her son’s due process rights by not providing her with proper and timely notice of her right to an informal conference.  In addition, petitioner claims that when she did finally meet with Memorial’s principal and vice-principal together, she was denied the opportunity to confront all complaining witnesses.

Respondent denies petitioner’s claims and argues that, since petitioner received notice of her son’s suspension and was provided an opportunity to discuss the matter (and did in fact discuss the matter) with both Memorial’s principal and vice-principal, her son’s due process rights were not violated.

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 C.A., Sr., 45 Ed Dept Rep 388, Decision No. 15,360; Appeal of the New York Charter Schools Assn., Inc., et al., 45 id. 376, Decision No. 15,355; Appeal of the Bd. of Trustees of the N. Merrick Public Library, et al., 45 id. 363, Decision No. 15,350).  Here, petitioner did not request expungement of her son’s records.  Since C.S. has already served his suspension, no further meaningful relief can be granted and the appeal must be dismissed as moot (Appeal of K.G.B., 44 Ed Dept Rep 332, Decision No. 15,189; Appeal of R.S. and R.S., 44 id. 181, Decision No. 15,141; 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.