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Decision No. 16,189

Appeal of J.H and T.H., on behalf of their son J.H., from action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Auburn regarding student discipline.

Decision No. 16,189

(January 10, 2011)

Ferrara, Fiorenza, Larrison, Barrett & Reitz, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Donald E. Budman, Esq., of counsel

STEINER, Commissioner.--Petitioners appeal the decision of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Auburn (“respondent”) to suspend their son, J.H., from school.  The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years, J.H. was a student at respondent’s middle school.  On two occasions, J.H. was suspended for allegedly using inappropriate language.  By letter dated January 14, 2010, petitioners appealed the suspensions to respondent.  Respondent upheld the suspensions and this appeal ensued.

Petitioners allege that respondent failed to follow the Education Law and Commissioner’s regulations with respect to suspensions of five days or less.  Petitioners request that I order the suspensions expunged from their son’s educational record.  Petitioners further request that I order respondent to handle future suspensions in accordance with the Education Law and Commissioner’s regulations.  Respondent maintains that this appeal is moot.    

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 a Student with a Disability, 48 Ed Dept Rep 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937; Appeal of Embro, 48 id. 204, Decision No. 15,836).  By letter dated April 5, 2010, respondent’s superintendent admitted that an error had occurred and informed petitioners that the suspensions would be expunged.  In addition, an administrative workshop was scheduled in April 2010 for all administrators in the district to be trained by the district’s legal counsel on disciplinary procedures under New York and Federal law.   Based on the record before me, I find that respondent acted reasonably in expunging the suspensions from the student’s record and took proper steps to ensure that the legal requirements will be followed with respect to short term suspensions in the future (Appeal of R.N., Jr., 38 Ed Dept Rep 138, Decision No. 14,002).