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Matter of Dempsey v. New York City Dept. of Educ – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Matter of Dempsey v. New York City Dept. of Educ. (25 NY3d 291, 11 NYS3d 529, 33 NE3d 485 [2015]), the Court held that DOE's (New York City Department of Education) denial of a petitioner's application for certification as a school bus driver was not arbitrary and capricious, where the petitioner had been convicted of two drug-related felonies and three theft-related misdemeanors, even though the petitioner had been issued a certificate of relief from disabilities with respect to his felony convictions.

In reaching that conclusion, the Court reasoned that the petitioner had adduced "no evidence demonstrating that the DOE failed to consider" the information he provided concerning his relevant employment history (id. at 300).

The Court also noted that at the time of his more recent offenses, petitioner was of mature age, rather than an age at which an individual's moral values are typically still developing.

Finally, the Court highlighted that as "petitioner's felony convictions were for possession and attempted sale of a controlled substance," DOE was required, by its own regulations, to take into account the particular concern of exposing children in the New York City public school system to offenses involving "possessing, distributing or selling controlled substances" (id. at 301).