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RUIZ v. PEDOTA

January 06, 2004.

GABRIEL RUIZ, by and through his mother ANA J. NOVA; LOUIS M. ABRAHAM; ABIGAIL BADILLO; JESSICA CABAN, by and through her mother CRUZ RAMOS; ND; DANIEL ESPINAL MYLENE FIGUEROA, by and through her mother LEDY GONZALEZ; MIRYAN INDARTE; CARLOS INFANTE; CURT JAMES; YJ; by and through his mother ER; ABDIEL JULIO; AM; CHRISTINA MELENDEZ; by and through her mother LUCELINA TORRES; MICHAEL MONTES; by and through his mother SARA MINERO; CRYSTAL MORAN; FALLON NEGRON; NASONNA PIETERS; FRANCES D. RIVERA, by and through her mother DIANA RAMOS PINIERO; JAMAAR ST. HILLAIRE; VT, by and through her mother NM; and KW, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, -against- PAUL PEDOTA; NORMAN COHN, in his individual and official capacity as Principal of Franklin K. Lane High School; JOHN W. LEE, in his individual and official capacity as Superintendent of School District 77; JOEL KLEIN, in his individual and official capacity as Chancellor of the New York City School District; NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION; and NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF EDUCATION, Defendants


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JACK WEINSTEIN, Senior District Judge

ORDER

Subject to its effective date as indicated in its paragraph 1, the "Agreement" dated and executed on January 6, 2004 is conditionally approved. Page 2

Neither this Order nor the Agreement prevents City, State or Federal authorities from enforcing criminal and other laws to protect students, teachers and others against violence and other criminal acts in or near the school. See, e.g., Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971).

  Within ten days, the parties shall provide the court with a recommendation as to possible public hearings to consider approval of the terms of the Agreement. Cf. Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(e) (effective Dec. 1, 2003).

  The hearings scheduled in this case for January 6, 2004 are adjourned sine die, subject to further order of the court.

  SO ORDERED. Page 3

  AGREEMENT

  WHEREAS, plaintiff Gabriel Ruiz commenced a lawsuit entitled Rutz v. Pedota, filed on January 30, 2003, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Docket No. 03-CV-502 (the "Ruiz Action"), alleging that defendants Paul Pedota, former Principal of Franklin K. Lane High School ("FKL"), John W. Lee, former Superintendent of Queens High School Superintendency, Norman Conn, former Principal of FKL, Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City school system, the New York City Department of Education, and the New York City Board of Education (collectively, the "Defendants") violated federal and state law by denying plaintiff Ruiz educational services and excluding him from credit-bearing classes at FKL; and

  WHEREAS, plaintiffs KW, VT, Jamaar St. Hillaire, Nasonna Pieters, Fallon Negron, Crystal Moran, Christina Melendez, AM, Abdiel Julio, Curt James, Carlos Infante, Miryan Indarte, Jessenia Herrera, Arenya Harris, AG, Haydce Garcia, Daniel Espinal, ND, Jessica Caban, Abigail Badillo, Louis Abraham, and Gabriel Ruiz filed a First Amended Complaint on March 27, 2003, alleging that Defendants violated federal and state law by denying the plaintiffs educational services, excluding them from credit-bearing classes at FKL, and transferring them illegally; and

  WHEREAS, plaintiffs Gabriel Ruiz, by and through his mother, Ana J. Nova; Louis M. Abraham; Abigail Badillo; Jessica Caban, by and through her mother, Cruz Ramos; ND; Daniel Espinal; Mylene Figueroa, by and through her mother, Nancy Rivera; Haydee Garcia; AG; Arenya Harris; Jessenia Herrera, by and through her mother, Ledy Gonzalez; Miryan Indarte; Carlos Infante; Curt James; YJ, by and through his mother, BR; Abdiel Julio; AM; Christina Melendez, by and through her mother, Lucelina Torres; Michael Montes, by and through his mother, Sara Minero; Crystal Moran; Fallon Negron; Nasonna Pieters; Frances D. Page 2 Rivera, by and through her mother, Diana Ramos Piniero; Jamaar St. Hillaire; VT, by and through her mother, NM; and KW ("Plaintiffs"), filed a Second Amended Complaint (incorrectly titled Amended Complaint) on March 28, 2003, alleging that Defendants violated federal and state law by denying Plaintiffs educational services, excluding them from credit-bearing classes at FKL, and transferring them illegally; and

  WHEREAS, Defendants have denied any and all liability arising out of Plaintiffs' allegations; and

  WHEREAS, the parties now desire to resolve the issues raised in this litigation, without further proceedings and without admitting any fault or liability;

  IT IS AGREED AMONG THE PARTIES AS FOLLOWS:
1. The effective date of this agreement is the date of entry of an Order of Discontinuance without prejudice of the Ruiz Action.
2. Definitions.
a. Agreement Period: The period from the effective date of this agreement to and including June 30, 2006. Notwithstanding this definition, certain portions of this agreement may survive beyond June 30, 2006, as specified in paragraph 21 of this agreement.
b. The designation "LTA" applies to a student who is absent from school for twenty (20) consecutive school days.
(i) Group A LTA Student; A student who was registered for FKL and designated as a long-term absence at any point from January 30, 2003, to the effective date of this agreement.
  (ii) Group B LTA Student. A student who is registered for FKL and designated as a long-term absence at any point during the Agreement Period. Page 3
 
c. Separated FKL Student. Any student who was discharged or transferred from FKL's register during the period from January 1, 2000, to the effective date of this agreement. The definition of Separated FKL Student does not include any student who (i) transferred from FKL to any other DOE High School when the transfer was completed within five (5) school days, (ii) transferred to any private or parochial school, (iii) moved outside the City of New York ("City"), or (iv) entered military service.
d. Current FKL Student. A student who is on the register at FKL during the Agreement Period.
e. DOE means the New York City Department of Education, the New York City Board of Education, Joel Klein, in his official capacity as Chancellor of the New York City school system, and any successor Chancellor of the New York City school system in his or her official capacity.
f. DOE High School: A secondary school operated by the DOE that provides students in grades 9 through 12 a program of instruction with the opportunity to meet all the requirements for and receive a Regents or, if eligible, Local High School Diploma. This term includes alternative high schools, provided they award Regents or Local Diplomas.
g. DOE GED Program: A program operated by the DOE providing instruction to assist students in preparation for a state high school equivalency diploma ("GED"), as provided by 8 N.Y.C.R.R. Part 100.
h. DOE Adult Education Program: A DOE educational program that provides instruction to individuals over the age of 21 in preparation for a GED.
  i. DOE Evening High School: A DOE educational program that offers eligible students under the age of 21, as well as certain Separated FKL Students over the age of 21, the Page 4 opportunity to take high school credit-bearing classes and the examinations needed to obtain a Regents Diploma and/or if applicable, a Local High School Diploma.
 
3. Admission to a DOE High School, DOE GED Program, DOE Adult Education Program, or DOE Evening High School.
a. Any student who has been discharged or transferred from FKL and is under the age of 21, including but not limited to any Separated FKL Student, shall be allowed to register for and attend classes at FKL, by the end of the second school day following DOE's receipt of notification of the student's request to register and/or attend classes. Notification may be made in writing, by letter, fax, or e-mail, to Frank Barrone, Principal, Franklin K. Lane High School, 999 Jamaica Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11208, or to the current acting FKL Principal. Principal Barone's fax number is (718) 235-4877 and his email address is FBarone@nycboe.net. Notification may also be made in person at FKL. A Group A LTA Student must be provided a program card and access to classes within two (2) school days of the student's notification of the student's desire to attend classes as specified in this paragraph.
b. Separated FKL Students under the age of 21 who do not wish to reregister at FKL and Group A LTA Students under the age of 21 who do not wish to attend classes at FKL, may register for a DOE High School other than FKL pursuant to the procedures set forth in subparagraph 3(f) of this agreement.
  c. Separated FKL Students and Group A LTA Students under the age of 21 who do not wish to register for or attend classes at a DOE High School have the option of registering for a DOE GED Program, pursuant to the procedures set forth in subparagraph 3(f) of this agreement. Page 5
 
d. Current FKL Students, Separated FKL Students, and Group A LTA. Students over the age of 17 who are eligible may voluntarily elect to register for the DOE Adult Education Program or DOE Evening High School, pursuant to the procedures set forth in subparagraph 3(f) of this agreement. Such students retain their right to attend the New York City public schools pursuant to N.Y. Education Law § 3202.
e. Separated FKL Students and Group A LTA Students who are 21 years or older at the time they request readmission or who turn 21 prior to obtaining a diploma shall be permitted to register in their choice of a DOE GED Program, DOE Adult Education Program, or DOE Evening High School, pursuant to the procedures set forth in subparagraph 3(f) of this agreement. The student will be given the option of obtaining a GED, Regents Diploma, or, if applicable, Local High School Diploma, at no cost to the student. Such student shall be permitted to take the courses and examinations needed to obtain the diploma sought and may continue to attend such program until June 30, 2008 or until the student obtains a diploma, whichever comes first, provided the student is making progress toward the diploma sought. If the student is seeking a Regents Diploma or Local High School Diploma, the student may take up to six credit-bearing courses per semester. In addition, during the Agreement Period, the student shall be permitted to attend the Young Adult Success Center implemented pursuant to paragraph 11 of this agreement or access to similar available services at a more convenient location as provided in paragraph 11 of this agreement.
  f. To register for any of the programs outlined in subparagraphs 3(b), 3(c), 3(d), and 3(e) of this agreement. Current FKL Students, Separated FKL Students, or Group A LTA Students must deliver a written request providing the student's name, home address, Page 6 telephone number, date of birth, name and dates of last educational program attended, and the name(s) of each DOE High School, DOE GED Program. DOE Adult Education Program, and DOE Evening High School for which enrollment is sought, in order of preference if more than one is listed. If the student seeks to enroll for a future semester, the student must also indicate the semester for which enrollment is sought. The written request must be delivered, faxed, or e-mailed to Marjorie A. Elliott, Regional Director of Student Placement, Youth and Family Support Services. Region 5 Learning Support Center, Department of Education, 82-01 Rockaway Boulevard, Ozone Park, N.Y. 11416, or to her successor. Ms. Elliott's fax number is (718) 642-5707 and her email address is MElliot@nycboe.net. If a guidance conference is needed to place the student, the student shall make himself or herself available during the three (3) school days following delivery of the request. DOE shall notify the student of available placements as ...

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