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Decision No. 15,997

Appeal of K.F. and D.F., on behalf of their daughter M.F., from action of the Board of Education of the Clarkstown Central School District relating to student bullying.

Decision No. 15,997

(October 26, 2009)

Lexow, Berbit & Associates, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Warren E. Berbit, Esq., of counsel

STEINER, Commissioner.--Petitioners appeal the actions of the Board of Education of the Clarkstown Central School District ("respondent”) relating to alleged student bullying. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioners allege that during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years, their daughter was verbally and physically bullied by other students.  Petitioners allege that they repeatedly advised the principal, assistant principal and administrators in the district of this abuse and that respondent failed to provide a safe environment for their daughter.  This appeal ensued.

Petitioners argue that respondent violated federal and State laws and the New York State Constitution.  They allege that their daughter was forced to withdraw from respondent’s high school due to harassment and was denied a public education.  Petitioners request compensation for books, supplies, tuition, legal fees and counseling fees.

Respondent denies petitioners’ allegations and contends that the appeal is untimely and moot.  Respondent also maintains that the Commissioner lacks the authority to issue monetary relief.

An appeal to the Commissioner must be commenced within 30 days from the making of the decision or the performance of the act complained of, unless any delay is excused by the Commissioner for good cause shown (8 NYCRR §275.16; Appeal of Proctor, 46 Ed Dept Rep 575, Decision No. 15,599; Appeal of Henley, 46 id. 556, Decision No. 15,594).  Petitioners voluntarily withdrew their daughter from respondent’s schools on January 20, 2008 and this appeal was commenced more than one year from her removal.  Therefore, the appeal is untimely.

Moreover, the Commissioner has no authority to award monetary damages, costs or reimbursements in an appeal pursuant to Education Law §310 (Appeal of F.P., 46 Ed Dept Rep 134, Decision No. 15,465; Appeal of J.F. and D.F., 45 id. 241, Decision No. 15,310).

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