Court dismisses wrongful expulsion lawsuit of Ursuline school alumnus

A state Supreme Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former student of the Ursuline school, who claims she was wrongfully expelled after being involved in a fight at a mall of White Plains in the 2020-21 school year.

State Supreme Court Justice David Zuckerman ruled that the lawsuit, brought by a student identified only as KM, was without merit.

The lawsuit, which sought $1 million and a reversal of the expulsion, alleged that the private Catholic school for girls in New Rochelle breached its contract with the student and treated her unfairly. The 15-year-old claimed she was the target of relentless bullying which led to the confrontation.

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Zuckerman disputed that claim, noting that the school’s code of conduct states that violence or the threat of violence on or off campus is grounds for a range of disciplinary actions, including expulsion.

“Ursuline has the right to expel a student who engages in violence off campus, even when the incident does not occur during a school-related event,” Zuckerman wrote in her ruling.

The expelled Ursuline student was involved in a physical confrontation with another teenage girl, who was not an Ursuline student, at The Westchester shopping mall. School officials only discovered the confrontation late last year, after learning of a video documenting it.

In legal documents filed in response to the lawsuit, Ursuline claimed the 15-year-old plaintiff was a bully herself.

Ursuline President Colleen Melnyk said in a statement that the school does not take the expulsion lightly.

“Our student/parent handbook makes it clear that any use of force or violence, even off campus, is a serious disciplinary offense and will not be tolerated,” Melnyk said. “After a review of the particular circumstances, acting in the best interests of our students, the administration had no choice but to take this action.

“We are grateful that the court has upheld our actions in this case,” Melnyk added.

George Galgano, an attorney for the student and her family, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mike Randall covers breaking news in the Hudson Valley. Contact him at [email protected]

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Ursuline Lawsuit: Student’s Wrongful Expulsion Claim Dismissed

Martha K. Merrill