EducationThe White Plains Examiner

Judge Throws Out Former Ursuline Student’s Lawsuit

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By Mia Levine
A student at The Ursuline School in New Rochelle had her $1 million lawsuit against the school thrown out last week by a state Supreme Court justice.

A state Supreme Court justice dismissed a student’s lawsuit last week against The Ursuline School ruling that her case had no merit after she had been expelled for her role in a fight at the Westchester Mall.

The 15-year-old girl, identified only as K.M. in the suit, was expelled for violating rules outlined in the school’s handbook, which prohibits violence on or off school property.

The lawsuit, filed on Jan. 25, sought $1 million and her reinstatement. She had claimed that The Ursuline School, an all-girls private Catholic secondary school in New Rochelle, breached its contract and mistreated her.

“Ursuline has the right to expel a student who engages in violence off campus even when the incident is not at a school-related event/activity,” Justice David Zuckerman wrote in his decision.

Calls placed to the student’s attorney, George Galgano, were not returned.

The plaintiff was a freshman at Ursuline when the confrontation took place at the Westchester Mall in White Plains in May 2021 between her and another freshman girl from another school. The suit contended that K.M. was a target of bullying, which led to the fight. She allegedly faced bullying from students who attended religious schools in the area as well as a few public schools.

On or about last Dec. 15, Ursuline administrators received an e-mail from the other teenage girl’s mother who stated that K.M. was harassing her daughter. In addition, the mother informed the school of the existence of a video recording of the plaintiff attacking her daughter. K.M admitted she was the aggressor.

The Designated Team, which investigates and considers discipline for alleged violations at the school, eventually concluded the student violated its handbook by engaging in an off-campus physical altercation and should be expelled.

According to the suit, K.M. was able to complete the remainder of her sophomore year at Ursuline. However, on Mar. 10, Ursuline notified the girl that the two scholarships she had been awarded were being revoked.

On Apr. 1, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint that included two additional causes of action for breach of contract regarding the revoked scholarships and denial of enrollment for her junior and senior years. The amended complaint outlined five causes of action – three for breach of contract, one for fraud and one for implied covenant of good faith.

Zuckerman ruled that the plaintiff’s claims that The Ursuline School breached its contract with the student did not have merit. He referenced the school’s handbook, which defines disciplinary misconduct as “…a serious disciplinary infraction or misconduct on or off school property (which includes) but is not limited to, any action that could be construed as a threat of force or violence…”

It also provides the school with the right to enforce policies for any inappropriate action or behavior on or off school grounds.

“Our Student/Parent Handbook makes it clear that any use of force or violence even off campus is a serious disciplinary infraction and will not be tolerated,” Ursuline President Colleen Melnyk said in a statement. “We wish to emphasize that we do not take expulsion lightly. After review of the specific 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 matter.”

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