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Decision No. 15,874

Appeal of V.P., on behalf of her son P.P., from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of White Plains regarding graduation.

Decision No. 15,874

(February 19, 2009)

Ingerman Smith, L.L.P., attorneys for respondent, Jonathan J. Fuld, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of White Plains (“respondent”) not to permit her son, P.P., to graduate with his class.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Under respondent’s attendance policy, high school students are expected to maintain a 90% attendance rate in each of their assigned classes and students may be denied course credit for excessive absences.  Respondent also has a policy which provides that students who do not meet the requirements for graduation may not participate in graduation ceremonies.

On numerous occasions beginning in October 2007, school officials advised petitioner that P.P., then a senior in respondent’s high school, might not graduate due to excessive absences and/or failing grades.  By letter dated April 4, 2008, petitioner was informed that P.P. would not be permitted to graduate in June 2008 because he had failed to make up missed classes in one course and was failing three others.  By email dated April 14, 2008, petitioner was informed that her son would not be allowed to participate in the June graduation ceremony and would be required to attend summer school.

On or about April 29, 2008, petitioner and her husband met with school officials.  The principal again informed petitioner that P.P. would not be allowed to graduate in June because he had not earned sufficient course credit.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on June 16, 2008.

Petitioner alleges that school officials did not adhere to the district’s attendance policy and code of conduct and that their actions were arbitrary and capricious.  Petitioner requests that her son be permitted to attend graduation, be provided with the opportunity to “catch up” on missed classes or be granted “amnesty.”  Petitioner also requests that all students be treated equally.

Respondent alleges that the appeal is moot and untimely, that the petition fails to state a legal basis upon which relief can be granted and that its actions were reasonable.

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 Tine, 46 Ed Dept Rep 579, Decision No. 15,600; Appeal of N.C., 46 id. 358, Decision No. 15,532; Appeal of Lombardo, 46 id. 282, Decision No. 15,508).  The graduation ceremony in question took place in June 2008.  My Counsel’s office has been informed that P.P. has graduated from respondent’s high school after successfully completing summer school.  Therefore, the appeal must be dismissed as moot.