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Decision No. 17,504

Appeal of M.M.-D., on behalf of her son C.D., from action of the Board of Education of the Gates-Chili Central School District regarding immunization.

Decision No. 17,504

(September 14, 2018)

Harris Beach, PLLC, attorneys for respondent, Anne M. McGinnis, Esq., of counsel

ELIA, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Gates-Chili Central School District (“respondent”) that her son, C.D. (“the student”), is not entitled to a religious exemption from the immunization requirements of Public Health Law (“PHL”) §2164.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Given the disposition of this appeal, a detailed recitation of the factual background is unnecessary.  Briefly, during the 2017-2018 school year, the student was enrolled in respondent’s school district.  On September 5, 2017, petitioner submitted a request for the student’s exemption from the immunization requirements of PHL §2164 on religious grounds.  By letter dated September 20, 2017, respondent denied petitioner’s request.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on October 13, 2017.

Petitioner challenges respondent’s denial of her request for a religious exemption, asserting that she holds genuine and sincere religious beliefs that are contrary to immunization.

Respondent contends that its determination to deny petitioner’s request was rational and proper in all respects.

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 Sutton, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,331; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 id. 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937). According to an affidavit by respondent’s superintendent, subsequent to the denial of petitioner’s request for interim relief, petitioner provided the district with documentation demonstrating that the student had received all required vaccinations.  The student was thereafter admitted to respondent’s schools on October 19, 2017.  Thus, respondent no longer seeks to exclude the student from its schools on the basis that he has not received all required immunizations.  Accordingly, the appeal is academic and must be dismissed as moot (Appeal of K.G., 55 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 16,875).

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