Decision No. 18,296
Appeal of E.M., from action of the Board of Education of the Royalton-Hartland Central School District regarding access to school property.
Decision No. 18,296
(June 29, 2023)
Harris Beach, PLLC, attorneys for respondent, Sara E. Visingard, Esq., of counsel
ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the decision of the Board of Education of the Royalton-Hartland Central School District (“respondent”) to prohibit him from accessing school property. The appeal must be dismissed.
Given the disposition of this appeal, a detailed recitation of the facts is unnecessary. On March 7, 2023, petitioner entered respondent’s high school auditorium, after school hours, during rehearsals for the school’s musical production. Petitioner’s daughter (the “student”) had a role in the musical. According to respondent’s superintendent, the rehearsal was not open to parents or the public. Petitioner asked a student and a faculty advisor (the “advisor”) for a list of cast members.
In an affidavit, the advisor states that the student told him that petitioner’s “actions caused her to feel uncomfortable.” The advisor further avers that he deemed petitioner’s actions to be intimidating, threatening, and harassing “in light of [the student’s] expressed interest not to communicate with [petitioner],” and he therefore instructed petitioner to leave the rehearsal. By letter dated March 13, 2023, the superintendent informed petitioner that, because of the conduct described above, he was prohibited from entering any district premises without prior approval, until further notice. This appeal ensued. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on April 19, 2023.
Petitioner contends that respondent’s directive violated district policies. He seeks a determination that the directive was improper and unjustified under the circumstances; he also seeks to have the directive rescinded.
Respondent argues the appeal is moot. On the merits, it contends the directive was “reasonable, limited and in accordance [with] the [b]oard’s ultimate authority for access to students, school buildings and school property generally.”
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 that no longer exists due to the passage of time or a change in circumstances (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; see Matter of Hearst Corp. v Clyne, 50 NY2d 707, 714 ). Where the Commissioner can no longer award a petitioner meaningful relief on his or her claims, no live controversy remains and the appeal must be dismissed (Appeal of R.B., 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,394; Appeal of N.C., 40 id. 445, Decision No. 14,522).
By letter dated April 12, 2023, the superintendent informed petitioner that the directive would be lifted as of June 30, 2023. Accordingly, there is no longer any meaningful relief for me to grant, and the appeal must therefore be dismissed as moot.
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
END OF FILE
 To the extent petitioner seeks a determination that the directive was improper and unjustified under the circumstances, it is well established that the Commissioner does not issue advisory opinions or declaratory rulings in an appeal pursuant to Education Law § 310 (Appeal of He, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,299; Appeal of Leake, 57 id., Decision No. 17,235; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 id. 411, Decision No. 15,899).