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Decision No. 18,196

Appeal of R.G. from action of the Board of Education of the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District regarding denial of access to school property.

Decision No. 18,196

(September 12, 2022)

Hodgson Russ LLP, attorneys for respondent, Andrew J. Freedman, Esq., of counsel

ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the determination of the Board of Education of the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District (“respondent”) to set conditions upon his access to school property.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner is a level three sex offender.  He received this designation following 2001 convictions for rape in the second degree (three counts), sodomy in the second degree (one count), endangering the welfare of a child (three counts), and criminal contempt in the first degree (three counts).  Petitioner is also the parent of a child who attends school in respondent’s district.

Respondent requires petitioner to provide 48 hours’ notice of his intention to access district property.  The record reflects that respondent has granted petitioner’s requests on multiple occasions.  On March 10, 2022, however, respondent denied petitioner’s request to attend a parent-teacher conference because he provided less than 48 hours’ notice.[1]  This appeal ensued.

Petitioner alleges that respondent lacks authority to impose a 48-hour notice requirement on his access to district property.  He further argues that respondent’s March 10, 2022 denial of his request was arbitrary and capricious because he had previously received approval with less than 48 hours’ notice.  For relief, petitioner seeks a determination that he “be permitted to attend all events that his children are involved in without ... 48 hours[’] advance notice ....”

Respondent contends that it has the legal authority to impose conditions on petitioner’s access to school district property.  Respondent denies that it has exercised this authority in an arbitrary or capricious manner.

The Court of Appeals has stated that local school boards “exercise ultimate authority for access to students, school buildings and school property generally” (Matter of Lloyd v. Grella, 83 NY2d 537, 547 [1994]).  School boards may impose reasonable restrictions on individuals’ access to school property (compare Appeal of Anonymous, 48 Ed Dept Rep 503, Decision No. 15,931 [reasonable restrictions upheld] and Appeal of Anonymous, 44 id. 260, Decision No. 15,167 [same] with Appeal of Anonymous, 48 id. 266, Decision No. 15,855 [“total ban” for indefinite period of time annulled]).  A school board’s determination in this regard will only be reversed if it is arbitrary or capricious (Matter of Spinowitz, 18 Ed Dept Rep 13, Decision No. 9,719).

In an appeal to the Commissioner, a petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested and establishing the facts upon which he or she seeks relief (8 NYCRR 275.10; Appeal of P.C. and K.C., 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,337; Appeal of Aversa, 48 id. 523, Decision No. 15,936; Appeal of Hansen, 48 id. 354, Decision No. 15,884).

Petitioner’s claims are materially identical to arguments considered and rejected by Albany County Supreme Court in Matter of Lujan v Carranza, 63 Misc 3d 235 (Sup Ct, Albany County 2019).  That case also involved a parent and level three sex offender whose child’s school imposed a prior notice requirement for access to district property.[2]  Supreme Court upheld this condition, rejecting the petitioner’s argument that his discharge from parole immunized him from such restrictions.  As the court reasoned, “relief from parole’s jurisdiction does not ... divest schools of their traditional duties to protect students, nor can it be conflated with conferring an affirmative right on petitioner to enter school grounds” (Lujan, 63 Misc 3d 235, 242).  Petitioner’s claims are indistinguishable from those presented in Lujan.  As such, they must be rejected for the reasons articulated in that decision.

I have considered petitioner’s remaining arguments and find them to be without merit.




[1] The record reflects that respondent offered to accommodate petitioner, first, by offering to let him participate virtually, and, second, by offering to reschedule the date of the conference to March 24, 2022. 


[2] The parent in Lujan additionally had to be accompanied by a school safety officer while on school grounds (see Lujan, 63 Misc 3d at 240).