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Decision No. 16,314

Appeal of M.K. and R.A., on behalf of their children H.A. and K.A., from action of the Board of Education of the Ramapo Central School District regarding immunization.

Decision No. 16,314

(November 14, 2011)

Greenberg, Wanderman & Fromson, attorneys for respondent, Stephen M. Fromson, Esq., of counsel

KING, JR., Commissioner.--Petitioners appeal the determination of the Board of Education of the Ramapo Central School District (“respondent”) that their children, H.A. and K.A., are not entitled to an exemption from the immunization requirements of Public Health Law (“PHL”) §2164.  The appeal must be dismissed.

In August 2010, M.K. filed a request for a religious exemption for H.A. and K.A., who were then seven and five years old, respectively.  In late August or early September 2010, the district’s Director of Pupil Personnel Services (“director”) met with M.K. to discuss her exemption request.  On September 20, 2010, the director sent M.K. an undated letter denying her request.

By email dated September 27, 2010, M.K. requested an opportunity to meet with the director.  This meeting occurred on October 20, 2010, with the district’s attorney and R.A. also in attendance.  In two separate letters dated October 27, 2010, the director denied M.K.’s request for an exemption.  By email dated November 9, 2010, M.K. objected to the denial.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioners’ request for interim relief was denied on December 17, 2010.

Petitioners maintain that they have a sincere religious belief against immunizing H.A. and K.A.  They contend that respondent’s denial of their exemption request was arbitrary and capricious, and that the district’s attorney decided to deny their exemption request before considering their explanation at the October meeting.  Petitioners also assert that they are entitled to an exemption from immunization because the children were previously granted an exemption from a different school during the 2008-2010 school years.

Respondent denies petitioners’ allegations regarding its attorney and asserts that petitioners do not have genuine and sincerely held religious beliefs against immunization.  Respondent contends that the appeal must be dismissed as untimely and that the petition fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

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 affidavit dated October 7, 2011, the director notified my Office of Counsel that on September 7, 2011, petitioner M.K. provided documentation to the district demonstrating that H.A. and K.A. had been immunized.  Therefore, H.A. and K.A. have been admitted to the schools of the district because petitioners are in compliance with the applicable immunization requirements of PHL §2164.  Accordingly, no further meaningful relief may be granted and the appeal is moot.

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